Benefits of Restorative Justice

Restorative justice is first and foremost a voluntary process. We’re the first to acknowledge that it’s not for everyone, and we never pressure anyone to participate. We screen all participants at various stages, as do the justice system professionals who refer the files.

Going through restorative justice can be quite a difficult and emotional experience regardless of what role you’re in, however we typically get very positive feedback from those who participate (please see our “Testimonials” page and Facts and Figures report for examples and satisfaction rates based on our evaluations).

Below are some of the many benefits that can come out of participating.

Victims get the opportunity to: 

  • Obtain information – ask questions of the offender to understand what happened and the underlying reasons for the offence
  • Express the impact – directly tell the person who caused them harm how their actions have affected them
  • Be empowered – be part of the decision-making process regarding what will happen next and how to deal with the aftermath of the incident
  • Obtain restitution – be able to ask for restitution, both concrete and symbolic 
  • Have control over the process and outcome – participate how they want, and put forward requests for restitution etc.

The community gets the opportunity to:

  • Be recognized and participate as secondary victims – attention to their concerns as victims
  • Be empowered – be part of the decision-making process regarding what will happen next and how to deal with the aftermath of the incident
  • Build community responsibility – opportunities to (re)build a sense of community and mutual accountability

Offenders get the opportunity to: 

  • Take accountability – opportunity to take accountability for the offence and meet face-to-face with the victim and community in order to repair the harm done
  • Undergo personal transformation – opportunity to address and heal the underlying issues that contributed to their offending behaviour
  • Reintegrate (when appropriate/safe) – through taking accountability, making amends, and addressing contributing factors, offenders are welcomed into the community as law-abiding citizens

The thrust toward a more community- and victim-based system of justice is not a new phenomenon, but rather a resurgence of a historically prevalent approach to crime and conflict. Our current criminal justice paradigm, which we consider so natural, so logical, has in fact governed our understanding of crime and justice for only a few centuries. It is a non-judicial and non-legal community-based approach that has dominated Western history. Restorative justice has been the dominant model of criminal justice throughout most of human history.”
-Department of Justice Canada (2010, January 8 )

We envision a society where restorative practices once again become an everyday part of our lives.

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