Here at Restorative Justice Victoria, not only do we deliver a comprehensive restorative justice program, we also participate in research and other projects related to restorative justice when opportunities arise.
- Victim services and restorative justice online training
- Research project with the Department of Justice Canada: Restorative justice with adult offenders with cognitive challenges
- Victim services and restorative justice collaboration guide
- Evaluation of restorative justice programming
Strengthening Capacity: Restorative and Transformative Justice Services for Cases of Sexual Harm
Over the past 5 years, there has been a growing demand for restorative and transformative justice options in response to sexualized violence. As such, RJV has seen a significant increase in sexualized violence referrals, both from the justice system and from the community. We are always striving to provide meaningful, trauma-informed, and survivor-centered services through continuous improvement. This project will increase our capacity to use restorative and transformative practices to respond to urgent survivor needs. This project will allow us to provide a second round of our specialized sexualized violence training and coaching, after further consultations in the community about best practices and survivor needs. It will also allow us to create a roster of sexualized violence-focused caseworkers, providing them with honoraria and regular community of practice meetings to support their work. Lastly, thanks to this grant, we will be able to share our increased capacity and support further awareness of our services through promotional materials and community outreach events.
Restorative justice is recognized as an alternative measure of justice under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, making it a right to youth to access when involved in the criminal legal system. However, restorative justice is still highly unknown to the wider public, including the locally available services for schools. Just like the police, our services are available at no cost thanks to municipal financial support in maintaining the rights of youth and adults. The goals of this project are to build relationships with schools, increase youth access to meaningful community-based responses to harms, and, ultimately, take part in fostering safer and healthier school communities of youth. With intentional outreach, partnership development, consultation sessions and targeted referral guides and brochures, we hope this is the spark to becoming a valuable, dependable community partner to schools while empowering, healing and supporting youth who have harmed or experienced harm.
This outreach project is made possible by the generous funding of the Harbourside Rotary Club.
Beginning in June 2019, we have been participating in the BC-wide project facilitated by Just Outcomes Consulting to create a set of evaluation criteria and questionnaires for clients of restorative justice services. The goal of the project is to create a shared set of data to understand the current practice of restorative justice in BC, to support programs in their continuous efforts to improve, and to have access to data for grant and advocacy purposes. The pilot where the evaluation tools will be used within programs throughout BC will begin in October 2020.
We participated in a facilitated dialogue with 24 other RJ and gender-based violence practitioners, and Indigenous leaders from across the province, and two subject matter experts from outside of BC, to explore the use of RJ approaches in cases of gender-based violence, while acknowledging historical and ongoing barriers and concerns about the application of RJ in such cases.
At RJV we strive to not only provide exceptional service delivery in our community, but also to collaborate on and participate in research projects to benefit the wider RJ community. For this project we participated in a series of interviews to explore the meaning and uses of the terms ‘restorative justice’ and ‘Indigenous-led justice’.
More than a hundred countries around the world use some form of restorative justice in responding to justice related issues. British Columbia is home to over 80 police and/or community-based restorative and/or Indigenous-led justice programs. Saskatchewan has had alternative measures in place since 1985. There is a lot of research that has been completed that has taken the terms ‘restorative justice’ and ‘Indigenous-led justice’ and explored them as a single topic. This research project, however, looked at these terms as individual topics and examined the similarities and differences between the two in British Columbia.
You can read the project synopsis here.
Thanks to funding from the First West Foundation through the Island Savings Community Endowment and the Rachel Davis Fund at the Victoria Foundation, we developed and delivered two 12-week virtual Girls Circle program for girls between the ages of 11 and 14 from Rockheights Middle School and across the Greater Victoria area. Each girl received a mailed supply kit to support her participation in activities, anxiety reduction, and technology access. Week by week, the girls grew their confidence in authentic self-expression, connections with themselves and the other girls, and critical thinking on the harms of gender norms and cultural expectations. Girls Circle is a violence prevention program steeped in restorative justice principles and practices using a relational-cultural approach and trauma-informed, strength-based facilitation. This evidence-based program model was developed by the One Circle Foundation.
Conducted by Just Outcomes Consulting for the Department of Justice Canada, we participated as one of five sites in a research study “Crime Victim’s Experiences of Restorative Justice: A Listening Project”. The goal of the project was to listen to the voices and perspectives of victims/survivors and victim service providers and explore their experiences of restorative justice. It reported on findings on the needs of victims of crime and how restorative justice did and did not meet those needs, as well as suggestions from Listening Project participants on how to enhance meaningful victim involvement.
See the final report here.
Led by the Department of Justice Canada, and supported by Alderson-Gill & Associates, Goss Gilroy Inc., and Otter Daughters Consulting, we participated as one of five sites in a research study to examine different elements of restorative justice practices that are modified or implemented to work with adult responsible parties with diagnosed or suspected FASD. See the final report here.
Since the final report, the Department of Justice has also released the following paper supported by the research undertaken for the original report, entitled Exploring the Use of Restorative Justice Practices with Adult Offenders with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). See the paper here.
In partnership with the Victoria Police Department, ICBC, and the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles, RJV offered a restorative-response to distracted driving as pilot project from 2017-2018. First-time offenders were given the option to participate in a 3-hour restorative justice educational course (instead of paying a fine). Over 60 people participated in the project. The results were evaluation three, six, and 12 months after participation in the session. Outcomes demonstrated increased understanding of the risks of distracted driving, a commitment to behaviour change, and a demonstration of behaviour change.
“I appreciate being a part of this pilot project. It was a very impactful experience. I feel that more public campaigns highlighting the effects of distracted driving (real impacts) and the stats like that there are more fatalities from it than impaired driving now will have an impact on public behaviour.” – Participant
In 2017, RJV offered a free course on both victim services and restorative justice in BC, which focused on victims’ justice needs and how to work collaboratively in supporting them together. The project had three elements: developing and delivering an online course about meeting victim and survivor needs through restorative justice, developing and delivering a four-day training and dialogue session for restorative justice and victim services practitioners in BC (delivered in the Greater Vancouver area), and RJV was available for ongoing support and consultation for participants until April 2018. Participants report significant increases in their understanding of both restorative justice and victim services, and higher interest in collaborating with both types of organizations.
“I want to thank you so much for the course and the presentation. It was well laid out and very easy to understand and follow. I very much enjoyed the first-person narrative videos and I can see how important these practices are. Mostly I was very impressed by the neutral take of it all, both pros and cons of RJ were presented, and this allowed me to understand how to mitigate risk and account for all factors of an RJ process. Finally, I had never really understood what Victim Services were and this was a complete comprehensive look into how they support the victim first and foremost. I think it would be so beneficial for VS and RJ to support each other during case work.” – An online course participant
Due to the popularity of the online course, we’ve continued to make it available on our website for free. Access the course here.
For Victims and Survivors of Crime Week 2017, RJV hosted the half-day Empowering Resilience Symposium on June 2, 2017. The symposium aimed to raise awareness and increase knowledge about the resilience of victims, and the issues, experiences, and needs that victims may have. It also highlighted local available services and assistance programs for victims. Outcomes and feedback of the symposium were incredibly positive, with attendees reporting a strengthening of relationships and community, increased awareness and knowledge of victim successes and struggles with resilience, and increased information about access to services for victims and existing gaps in services. With 50 people in attendance, it inspired us all to work collaboratively and shape a better future for victims and survivors of crime.
In 2016, staff from Restorative Justice Victoria collaborated with other BC restorative justice organizations to create Recommended Principles and Standards for Restorative Justice Providers in Criminal Matters. It is intended as a guiding resource for those involved in restorative justice service delivery in British Columbia. The standards are not intended to describe in detail a model system for restorative justice service providers, but rather to outline recommended minimum standards which, when combined with appropriate practitioner training and experience, can help to provide a reference for the ethical practice of restorative justice. Our collaborators were Fraser Region Community Justice Initiatives, the Criminology Department of Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Abbotsford Restorative Justice and Advocacy Association, and South Okanagan Restorative Justice/Terri L. Kalaski Associates.
See the standards document here.