RESTORATIVE JUSTICE: OUR PROCESS
After discussing the incident with both the victim and the one accused of the crime, the police officer refers the case (if appropriate) to Restorative Justice. In the case of a minor, this will also be discussed with the youth or child’s parents.
The youth(s) responsible and parents/guardians will be contacted by ARJAA to determine if they are interested in proceeding with Restorative Justice.
The victim(s) will be contacted by ARJAA to determine if they are interested in proceeding with Restorative Justice.
If both parties are willing, an initial private meeting will be set up with each of the parties to meet with the ARJAA team. This allows each party to discuss privately what happened, what the impacts have been, concerns are discussed, and the victim is able to express what is needed to make things right. These meetings are confidential.
After at least one initial meeting with each party, the ARJAA team determines whether the case is appropriate for mediation, or whether other approaches would be more effective.
If the parties are ready for a face-to-face meeting, a mediated session called a conference is arranged. These are usually held at the Community Policing Office in the UCFV Annex Building on Marshall Road at Abbotsford Way.
The conference takes place, involving all affected parties, and may also include people close to them who are needed for emotional support. A typical conference can take 2.5 hours. The conference is a confidential process. After a full discussion of the incident, and the concerns and issues that surround the incident, the goal is to draft an agreement that repairs the harm. This is very specific, and must show how restitution and amends will be made. It is developed and agreed up by the group, and signed by all parties. The mediators do not determine the agreement—they guide the process in which the participants will come up with the resolution that is needed.
The signed agreement is distributed to the participants, to the police and a copy is retained in the ARJAA file.
The person responsible for the incident fulfills the agreement, according to the time lines spelled out in the contract. This is supervised by ARJAA volunteers.
When the agreement is fulfilled the matter is completely concluded. A closing report is sent to the police, and there is no criminal record. The person responsible receives a closing letter.
Files are returned to police for further action if:
> The person responsible decides to withdraw from the process
> The person responsible fails to fulfill the agreement
> For some other reason the process cannot go forward
*** The vast majority of cases are able to be concluded successfully
through Restorative Justice.