What is Youth Restorative Justice?
The Youth Restorative Justice program is modelled after the Restorative Justice program.
Diversion referrals are received from the courts, police, educators, parents and probation officers. Once a diversion referral form is received, the Youth Restorative Justice Worker (YRJW) begins to plan for a Circle to take place. In the Circle, the youth is given the opportunity to understand his/her behaviour, and how it affected others around them.
Victims, offenders and the community are involved in this process along with any supporters who wish to participate. YRJWs will then facilitate healing circles to work towards a resolution that provides the opportunity of making amends, healing and successful re-integration of the youth into the community while preventing further harm.
Proper follow-up and monitoring are made to ensure that the youth fulfil their undertakings pursuant to the Circle Agreement.
Goal of the YRJ Program
The intent of the program is to guide youth towards a better understanding of how their behaviour affects others within the community. After which the youth will work towards making amends by giving back to the community in a meaningful way. By accomplishing this the youth will gain a new insight into the cause and effects of their behaviour.
In addition, the program may help youth to develop new skills and interests, allowing them the opportunity to seek out new training opportunities.
The Circle Participants?
- The victim and his or her supporters (i.e. family members, friends, etc.)
- The offender and his or her supporters (i.e. family members, friends, etc.
- Key persons involved in helping the offender and victim, such as youth workers, social workers, teachers and counsellors
- Concerned members of the community
Participation by all parties (victim, offender, etc.) must be voluntary. A forum should be made available when an offender makes an admission and agrees to participate.
- Youth between the ages of 12-17 at the time of pre-charge or post-charge diversion
- Youth who are in trouble with the law
- Youth who want to turn your life around
- Youth who are serious about taking responsibility for and being accountable for their actions and behaviour
Types of Cases Covered
For criminal matters, Circles are most commonly used as a pre-charge diversion – at the investigating officer’s discretion.
For post-charge diversions, the Crown Attorney will carefully consider all of the circumstances of the particular charge before deciding whether the offence may be referred to the Youth Justice Program.
- Break and Enter
- Uttering Threats
Less than $5000.00
- Theft Under, S.334(b);
- False Pretenses Under, S. 362 (2);
- False Statement Under, S.362;
- Break & Enter, S.348;
- Assault, S. 266;
- Mischief Under, S. 430 (4); and
- Cause Disturbance, S. 175
Requirements or Outcomes for Youth from the Circle Process
- Volunteer work in the community, tending to Elders, getting firewood or shovelling, gathering of food, volunteering or attending community events
- Written or verbal apology
- Attending presentations
- Attendance at school
- Testimonies, sharing of stories to provide a teaching
- Making and presenting gifts to the person(s) harmed
- Attending a treatment program or another self-help program
Questions to Ask When Consider A Youth Justice Circle
When considering the use of the circle process for an offence there are questions that can determine if this process will be in the best interest of all parties involved.
- Is there a need to repair the harm
- Has the offender admitted responsibility?
- Does the victim want this process?
Participation by all parties (victim, offender, etc.) must be voluntary. A forum should be considered when the offender has made an admission and agrees to participate.