VICTORIA - Government has proclaimed Nov. 18-25 as "Restorative Justice Week" to highlight the important work of restorative justice groups and recognize their value in building safer communities.
Restorative justice seeks to create fair outcomes by repairing the harm caused to victims of crime and violence. This is typically achieved through a process that addresses victims' individual needs and holds offenders accountable for their actions.
This year's national theme, Diverse Needs; Unique Responses, highlights the adaptability of the restorative justice process. Groups of dedicated community volunteers throughout the province draw on various restorative justice approaches to address the specific circumstances and impacts related to a particular crime or conflict.
Crime victims aren't the only benefactors. Offenders who participate in programs have a lower rate of recidivism, having taken responsibility for their actions and participated in a process to help reach a resolution for the harm they have caused.
Agencies and individuals in British Columbia have been recognized nationally for their pioneering efforts. Approximately 50 community-based programs throughout B.C. accept some 1,400 referrals annually. Staff and volunteers devote more than 90,000 hours to restorative justice each year in B.C.
Shirley Bond, Minister of Justice and Attorney General -
"Restorative justice is an example of how we can build community by strengthening offenders' understanding of the impacts of their crimes and providing victims with a chance to be heard. The broader benefit is lower recidivism, which strengthens both community and family safety.
"My heartfelt thanks go out to the many volunteers in communities large and small who make an important contribution to furthering justice and keeping B.C.'s crime rate low."
Catherine Bargen, restorative justice coordinator, Ministry of Justice -
"The incredible work that volunteers and community groups conduct year-round in this province for restorative justice is invaluable. Restorative Justice Week provides an excellent opportunity for communities all over the country to reflect on the benefits of broadening our view of justice, and how we can make a difference in our own context."
More about Restorative Justice Week:
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Justice