The Government of British Columbia has proclaimed Nov. 15-22, 2015, as Restorative Justice Week.
To recognize the role restorative justice plays in preventing crime, supporting victims and building safer communities, Justice Minister Suzanne Anton has issued the following statement:
“Crime is a violation of law and a violation of people, relationships and peace in a community. While our criminal justice system can deal with those who break the law, restorative justice offers a parallel, voluntary process that seeks to address the needs of victims while holding offenders accountable. It provides offenders an opportunity to fulfil their obligations to society and to their victims in ways that can have a more meaningful and lasting impact than the traditional criminal justice process.
“For more than 15 years, we have funded restorative justice programs for offences of mischief, assault and theft. Since 2011-12, we have provided more than $450,000 in civil forfeiture grants to help groups take on more diverse cases, applying the principles of restorative justice to cases of break and enter, fraud and threats.
“We’re raising the bar again. Last week, as part of Crime Prevention Week, I announced that our 2015-16 civil forfeiture grant funding call would include a stream dedicated to restorative justice. I encourage those with a stake in this approach to review this funding opportunity.
“Partners throughout the province contribute to the success we’ve seen. Crown counsel, schools and police refer more than 1,400 cases each year to which volunteers and staff devote more than 70,000 hours. Through facilitation, structured dialogue or communication that need not be face to face, victims experience recovery by having their perspectives acknowledged, while offenders learn from those they’ve impacted.
“The benefits of restorative justice are many – and this week aims to highlight the important work underway by those committed to its success. I encourage you to learn more about restorative justice and the ways we can make B.C. safer, together.”