Criminal Justice Information and Support

Restorative Justice

British Columbia's Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Children and Family Development, and the Correctional Service of Canada are working to minimize the effect of crime on individuals and communities.

Restorative Justice and Its Purpose

Restorative justice seeks to repair the harm caused by crime and violence by addressing victims' needs, holding offenders accountable for their actions, and engaging the community in the justice process. To achieve this, offenders must first accept responsibility for their role in an offence and the harm they have caused. Victims must also voluntarily choose to participate. Communities are given an opportunity to provide support, offer their input and assist in helping the offender to return to living in the community. In this approach, crime is understood not only as breaking the law, but as a violation of people and relationships and a disruption of the peace in the community.

Restorative justice programs may be used at various points in the criminal justice process. Some common restorative justice processes include:

  • Face-to-face dialogue between the victim and offender in appropriate cases.
  • Large group conferencing with the victim, offender, family and supporters.
  • Sentencing or healing circles, often used within the Aboriginal community.

Victims, offenders and those making referrals (police officers, victim service workers, and probation officers) are all able to start the process by asking if restorative justice would be desirable in their case. If you think restorative justice is an option in your case, you can talk to a victim service worker, Crown counsel, the restorative justice coordinator for the Ministry of Justice or a conferencing specialist at the Ministry of Children and Family Development about what this could mean for you.

More Information

For more information about restorative justice, visit Restorative Justice - Ministry of Justice.

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