Restorative Justice in
Abbotsford began in 2001

CRITERIA FOR REFERRAL

As directed by the new Youth Criminal Justice Act, an officer shall consider whether it would be sufficient to consider an extrajudicial measure, instead of laying a charge. One option is to refer the young person to a community program that may assist the young person not to commit offences. Restorative Justice is one of these options.

Restorative Justice referrals are appropriate for...

  • A first-time offender (youth or adult)
  • A young offender
  • A child
  • A case where the offender takes responsibility for the crime
  • A case where the offender understands and regrets the harm done, and is willing to be co-operative and accountable (At minimum, the offender needs to acknowledge responsibility, accept the act was wrong and be willing to make amends. Empathy and remorse often grow in the offender throughout the RJ process.
  • Category 3 and 4 offences (less serious charges such as theft, mischief, assault, vandalism)
  • A case with an identifiable victim
  • A victim with specific issues and concerns, and/or needs questions answered
  • Neighbourhood Disputes: not necessarily criminal, but could escalate without intervention. (The RJ team will guide the participants through a conflict resolution process)

Inappropriate Referrals...

  • Offender is unwilling to take responsibility, or feel remorse about it
  • “Victimless Crime”, i.e. no individual party has been harmed (judgment and discretion is required here, because sometimes the parents of the offender could be considered the victims)
  • Victim is unwilling to participate
  • Offender is unwilling to participate
  • Geographic location of victim or offender is significantly distant from Abbotsford
  • Minor incidents: RJ is time intensive, requiring significant use of resources. Some matters are too minor to initiate a mediation process
  • Ongoing issues that require significant counseling, and have a lengthy history

*** The key for selecting an appropriate Restorative Justice case is the potential for a valuable encounter between the parties.

NOTE:  Restorative Justice is a voluntary, non-coercive process. Participants may withdraw at any time.