Celebrating Restorative Justice week

Staff writer
November 16, 2012 01:00 AM

The Sunshine Coast's Restorative Justice Team worked with renowned restorative justice practitioner, Dr Evelyn Zellerer, at Cooper's Green Hall in Halfmoon Bay recently. The session, attended by some 20 volunteers and board members, reflected on accomplishments, current challenges and its goals for the future.

Restorative Justice week takes place across Canada from Nov. 18 to 25, and will be celebrated along the Sunshine Coast with information events in Sechelt and Gibsons.

Its theme - diverse needs; unique responses - captures the very essence of restorative justice, demonstrating how it can be applied across an increasingly diverse society to address the varied needs of all those involved.

Vital to an effective restorative justice process is strong community support.

To see and hear why, and how you could play a part in its success, the Sunshine Coast's Restorative Justice team is hosting information tables at two locations - the Sunnycrest Mall in Gibsons from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 20, and the Trail Bay Mall in Sechelt from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 22.

Restorative justice is not a new idea, but it is one that has started to show great benefits to those using its principles. Its approach focuses on the needs of victims, offenders and the community.

At its heart is a process which brings those harmed by crime or conflict, and those responsible for the harm, into communication, either directly or indirectly, enabling everyone affected by a particular incident to play a part in repairing the harm and finding a positive way forward.

Restorative justice gives victims the chance to tell offenders about the real, personal impact of their crime, to ask questions and get answers to their questions. It helps offenders to understand the impact of what they've done, to take responsibility and make amends. Restorative justice holds offenders to account for what they have done and enables victims to get on with their lives.

Restorative justice is based on a theory of justice that considers crime and wrong-doing to be an offence against an individual or community, rather than the state. Restorative justice that fosters dialogue between victim and offender shows the highest rates of victim satisfaction and offender accountability.

For more, see www.csc-scc.gc.ca, contact the Community Justice Program of the Sunshine Coast at 604-885-2266 or 604-885-2177 or email cjp-sc@eastlink.ca.

- Submitted

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