Restorative Justice Victoria (legal name Victoria Restorative Justice Society) is a non-profit, community-based organization that facilitates dialogues in the aftermath of crimes that occur in the City of Victoria, Oak Bay, and Esquimalt.
Watch our videos for a sense of what we do. The first is a general description, and the second is geared towards youth participants.
In a nutshell: When appropriate and safe, we bring together victims, offenders and relevant community members who voluntarily want to discuss the offence, who it affected and how, and in what ways the offender can make amends and address the root causes of the crime. Participation is voluntary for everyone, and parties help design the process (which may include indirect communication, or no communication at all; victims are invited to participate, but it is not mandatory. We can also do victim healing circles without offenders). We are victim-centred and address the need for participation, accountability, results, healing and closure. Dialogues can occur at any point after an offence occurs, and can be done in conjunction with court. Read more about restorative justice philosophy and entry points here.
Programs: RJV has two primary programs:
- our Diversion Program, which handles cases at the pre- or post-charge stage. Referrals are made by police or Crown, and responsible parties are held accountable by the affected parties and community; and
- our Integrated Restorative Justice Program, which works with victims and offenders after the offender has been convicted in court. Referrals are made by Crown counsel, judges, probation officers, or the parties themselves.
Clients and referrals: We work with youth (12-17) and adults and receive between 70 and 100 referrals per year, involving minor to serious offences, from the Victoria Police Department, Oak Bay Police Department, Victoria and Western Communities Crown Counsel, Victoria Community Corrections (probation), Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, and members of the community. Our services can be utilized at the pre-charge stage or in conjunction with the traditional justice system.
Volunteers: 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 our first case in 2006, RJV has been referred over 700 cases of crime and harm that occurred within the Greater Victoria community.
Vision: Restorative Justice Victoria is recognized and respected as a leader in promoting restorative justice principles and in providing effective and accessible restorative justice services in our community.
Mandate: Firstly, to address crime and conflict in the community through restorative practices and, secondly, to engage in public education and outreach to ensure a broad base of support for, and participation in, community justice.
Mission: Restorative Justice Victoria provides a range of restorative services in the Greater Victoria area for youth and adults in order to promote healing, resolution, and safety in the aftermath of criminal and other harmful behaviour.
Ethical framework: download it here.
Constitution and bylaws: download it here.
Structure: RJV operates under the guidance of a skilled and dedicated Board of Directors. We employ three staff members, and typically have around 90 volunteers in various roles. We also have four committees headed by our board members – please go to our Committees page for more info.
Program authority and referral sources: RJV is a registered non-profit society and charity with Canada Revenue Agency. We operate under Public Safety Solicitor General Community Accountability Program Guidelines (PSSG CAP) for police referrals. We have had a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Victoria Police Department for referrals since 2005 and an MOU with the Attorney General to accept Crown referrals since 2008. In January 2010, we became a service contractor for ICBC, paid on a case-by-case basis. We also accept community referrals from local schools and provide our services on a sliding-scale fee for businesses and non-profits. In October 2011, RJV signed an MOU with the University of Victoria to receive non-academic misconduct referrals. In 2015, we signed an MOU with the Oak Bay Police Department. In 2016, we began getting referrals from probation offices in Greater Victoria.