Restorative justice program launches new look

Christine Wood/Staff Writer / Staff writer
March 16, 2014 01:00 AM

Sechelt councillor Doug Hockley talks about the importance of the Restorative Justice Program of the Sunshine Coast at the March 6 launch of a new look for the program while board vice chair Nancy Denham looks on.

A new name, website and logo were unveiled for the Restorative Justice Program of the Sunshine Coast last Thursday, March 6.

Formerly the Community Justice Program, the new name is meant to highlight the restorative process the program follows.

Restorative Justice sees young offenders selected by the RCMP face their victims and impacted community members in a circle led by trained volunteers.

During the circle the offender must listen to the effect their act had on others, and together the group comes up with a way to make amends.

Often offenders leave the circles in tears, finally able to see the error of their ways, and new relationships are formed, resulting in fewer re-offences.

The program has been on the Coast since 1998 and it's based on the three Rs: repairing the harm, restoring broken relationships and rebuilding the community.

Members of the Restorative Justice Program of the Sunshine Coast hope the name change, website and new logo will help the community become more aware of what they do.

"It's all a brash attempt to get more publicity and more attention paid to restorative justice," said Bill Prowse, chair of the program's board of directors, at the launch on March 6.

He noted that although the program has been on the Coast since 1998 there are still many people who don't know what restorative justice is or that it's available here.

Restorative justice board vice chair Nancy Denham praised the new logo showing two people connected by a loop, saying it will help the public understand what the program's about.

"They're in the loop of the circle and it's about relationship. So every time we have a circle, the relationships are restored, and not only that, they're made. Supports are found and discovered and made and people change their minds and therefore their behaviours," Denham said. "Community can not be built without all of us, those who make mistakes and those who have got it all together."

Sechelt Coun. Doug Hockley gave his praise to the group at the March 6 event, saying restorative justice is essential in a place like Sechelt.

"I can't say enough about what this does in a small community because the offenders will cross paths at one time or another in the future, after the offence," he said.

The Restorative Justice Program of the Sunshine Coast is funded by all of the governments on the Coast, the school board, the province and the Sunshine Coast Credit Union. Find out more at www.rjpsc.ca.


© Coast Reporter

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