Restorative Justice in
Abbotsford began in 2001

VALUES

ARJAA is a young and growing organization, vitally concerned with finding innovative ways to impart restorative values and practices to our community. Our vision is to: “Repair the harm…restore relationships… rebuild community.”

At the heart of what we do is a core of values, including respect, empathy, and reconciliation, accountability to community, listening, care and concern. These values are expressed through processes which allow people who have been affected by conflict or wrongdoing to meet together with those who have harmed them, in a safe and guided context designed to protect the safety, respect and dignity of all participants. Restorative Justice strives to resolve conflict through restorative means: striving not to punish but to repair the harm done; to work toward reconciliation, peace-making and restoration of broken relationships; and to rebuild and heal the community harmed by the event.

Respect

Each participant is treated with dignity and respect, and mediations are conducted in a safe and respectful environment. Participants are expected to communicate respectfully with one another throughout a restorative process.

Empathy

Research shows that people are disinclined to re-offend if they have learned to empathize for those they have harmed. Restorative Justice allows for empathy to grow between victims and offenders, as they grow in their understanding of each other.

Accountability

Restorative Justice provides a high degree of support with a high degree of accountability for those who have committed crimes or have harmed others. Individuals referred by police to our program must be willing to take responsibility for their actions, and be accountable to those they have harmed. This is not a “soft-on-crime” approach! Facing those you have harmed, admitting to your actions, and taking steps to make things right takes a tremendous amount of courage and emotional strength.

Listening

Restorative Justice is based on principles of communication that allow the affected parties to grow in their understanding of one another. Trained mediators provide support through listening as they work privately with each party prior to mediation. The mediation team guides the process to ensure that participants can communicate clearly, so that their needs and concerns can be heard and understood.

Care and Concern

ARJAA volunteers are a caring group of community members who advocate for the needs of both victims and offenders, and the families of referred children and youth. In addition to the support and assistance provided by the volunteer team, referrals are made to link clients with other resources available to them.

Reconciliation

Restorative Justice provides an opportunity for two parties who have been divided by conflict or crime to find a path to reconciliation. Healing of broken relationships is an important part of healing the effects of crime and conflict.

I have been part of many training sessions and this was the most positive experience I have ever had!
-Comment from participant in ARJAA's Victim-Offender Mediation Training