Victoria Restorative Justice Society
Our Impact Why We Exist
Here at Restorative Justice Victoria, we witness a lot of life-changing moments. In our pursuit to meet people's needs after a crime has been committed, we meet a lot of people who aren't in good places in their lives, whether it's because they've been the victim of a crime, committed a crime, witnessed something or are supporting someone. Many face barriers around mental health, poverty, addictions and substance use/abuse, housing and transportation, self-esteem and effective communication. We connect our clients (and their supporters) with community resources to address their needs, such as counseling, treatment, programs, detox and financial support. We also see a lot of amazing moments in our restorative justice dialogues, when we bring victims, offenders and community members together (when appropriate, and on a voluntary basis) to discuss what happened, how it's impacted them and others, how to address the needs created by the offence, and how to prevent it from reccurring. Clients often gain much-needed information, resources and empowerment out of the experience.
When appropriate, we bring together victims, offenders and relevant community members who want to discuss what happened, who it’s affected and how, and in what ways the offender can make amends and address the root causes of the crime. We are victim-centred and address the need for participation, accountability, results, healing and closure. We work with youth and adults and receive between 70 and 100 referrals per year, involving minor to serious offences, from the Victoria Police Department, Crown Counsel, University of Victoria, and members of the community. Our services can be utilized as diversion or in conjunction with the traditional justice system. Those who facilitate our processes are trained community members, most of whom are professionals in fields such as psychology, social work, counselling and mediation. Since opening our doors in 2002, RJV has been referred just under 500 incidents of crime and harm that occurred within the Victoria community and schools, and have facilitated hundreds of restorative justice dialogues.
Our Story What We Do
Restorative justice is practiced in many forms and at many stages after a crime has happened. It can be used as diversion (i.e. as alternative measures, which handles the offence in the community, outside of court), in addition to a trial (before or after sentencing), or during or after a period of incarceration. The forms of restorative justice include (but not limited to) restorative justice dialogues, community accountability dialogues, victim-offender mediation, peacemaking/healing circles and hybrid models. RJV staff are trained in all models, and our volunteer caseworkers have diverse backgrounds in various models and practices.
Since RJV is an independent not-for-profit organization that does its own fundraising, these services are provided at no cost to clients referred by our community partners (Victoria and Oak Bay Police, Crown, the University of Victoria). We also accept referrals from individuals, businesses and other organizations on a sliding-scale fee – please contact us at 250.383.5801 for more information.
Our Programs How We Do It
Our services are provided at no cost to clients referred by our community partners (Victoria and Oak Bay Police, Crown, and the University of Victoria). Referrals from individuals, businesses and other organizations are provided on a sliding-scale fee.
Restorative Justice Dialogue (RJD)
Participants: two trained facilitators, the offender and his/her supporters, the victim and his/her supporters, mentor to the offender, community members, police. A consensus-based agreement focused on repairing the harm is created.
Community Accountability Dialogue (CAD)
Same participants as an RJD, but there is no participating victim. Participants engage in a discussion with the offender and take an active role in forming the agreement.
Victim – Offender Mediation
Used with offenders already involved in the criminal justice system. Involves skilled facilitation between the offender and victim. May or may not result in a restitution agreement (sometimes the dialogue alone satisfies the needs of the victim).
Used in criminal and non-criminal forms of conflict, they are unscripted and flexible to the needs of participants. We have used them to address various incidents including a school dispute and a traffic fatality.
A two- to five-session program for young offenders to further explore the impacts and contributing factors of the offence, with a key deliverable of a meaningful and reflective apology letter. Facilitated by Volunteer Victoria's two youth program coordinators.
Provides an opportunity for vulnerable young women (in grades 6, 7 and 8) to create authentic relationships within a context of their own setting and community. It focuses on the strengths of the participating girls and is non-judgmental, caring, confidential and fun.
Public outreach and education
RJV hosts many public presentations, workshops and training on restorative justice.
What You Can Do
We're thrilled to offer our services at no cost to clients referred by our community partners. The current level of government funding for restorative justice programs ($5,000.00/year) means that we depend heavily on community support to enable our programs. This support comes in the form of volunteer hours, donations of refreshments and financial contributions to our organization.
Donations help make possible:
- A comfortable venue and necessary materials for holding restorative justice dialogues
- More staff hours to enable the organization to meet the rising workload
- Program overhead
- Volunteer appreciation materials and events
- Quality training for our volunteers