What is Restorative Justice?

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Core Principles

Restorative Justice (RJ) is a philosophy and a set of practices.
RJ is Community-based. Every community has a unique program underpinned by shared values.
RJ sees conflict and/or crime as harm done to people, relationships and the community, not the state.
It focuses on accountability and repairing the harm done, instead of on retribution or punishment.
RJ strives to provide safe and supportive opportunities for communication. 
RJ empowers those directly affected by the conflict or crime to make decisions about the response.
RJ addresses root causes and explores what may be needed to change harmful behaviours.

Who Does It Serve?

Restorative Justice referrals can come from a number of sources including RCMP, Crown Counsel, Schools, judges, community organizations, probation officers, individuals, and more! 


The process is designed to serve all participants, whether they are responsible for causing harm or have been affected by harm.

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What are the benefits?

For people who have been harmed

  • empowerment/regain lost control

  • healing or closure

  • trauma-informed


For people who have caused harm

  • the opportunity to apologize

  • reintegration into community

  • insight about the impact of their actions

  • a chance to do better in the future


For all involved

  • builds communication skills

  • a chance to be heard

  • a safe space

  • a collaborative, not adversarial approach

  • ownership over the outcome

  • support from friends, family and community

  • builds communication skills

  • cost-effective


For community

  • decreased recidivism

  • increased community partnerships and sharing of resources

  • sense of unity in collective action

How does RJ work?

There are a variety of different restorative justice processes.


The process used will vary based on the capabilities and preferences of each program.


Some examples include:

Victim-Offender Mediation

Peacemaking Circles

Community Justice Forums

Community Accountability Panels 


Get in touch with your local Restorative Justice organization to find out which model they use.

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