Resources

Programs

Indigenous Justice Program
The Indigenous Justice Program supports Indigenous community-based justice programs that offer culturally relevant alternatives to mainstream justice processes in appropriate circumstances.
Victims Fund
The Victims Fund provides grants and contributions to support projects and activities that encourage the development of new approaches, promote access to justice, improve the capacity of service providers, foster the establishment of referral networks, and/or increase awareness of services available to victims of crime and their families. The Fund does not provide criminal injuries compensation for victims of crime.
Restorative Justice at Correctional Services Canada
Restorative Opportunities is a Correctional Service of Canada program that offers people who have been harmed by a crime, either directly or indirectly, a chance to communicate with the offender who caused the harm.
Youth Justice Fund
The Youth Justice Fund provides grants and contributions to projects that encourage a more effective youth justice system, respond to emerging youth justice issues and enable greater citizen and community participation in the youth justice system.

Research

Judging Victims: Restorative choices for victims of sexual violence - Jo-Anne Wemmers, Ph.D (2017)
This article examines the importance of choice for victims of sexual violence. This includes when victims of sexual violence choose restorative justice (RJ) rather than conventional criminal justice.
A Report on the Relationship between Restorative Justice and Indigenous Legal Traditions in Canada - Prof. Larry Chartrand and Kanatase Horn (2016)
This report discusses the similarities and differences between restorative justice and Indigenous legal systems. (Available by request: rsd-drs@justice.gc.ca)
Re-Thinking Access to Criminal Justice in Canada: a Critical Review of Needs, Responses and Restorative Justice Initiatives - Patricia Hughes and Mary Jane Mossman (2004)
This paper provides a critical assessment of some current issues about access to justice in Canada, with a special focus on criminal justice. The paper identifies recent trends in the literature about criminal justice in Canada and in related common law jurisdictions and the development of restorative justice processes to augment or replace traditional approaches to criminal justice.
Victims’ Experiences with, Expectations and Perceptions of Restorative Justice - Jo-Anne Wemmers and Marisa Canuto (2002)
The topic of restorative justice has become increasingly popular both in Canada and abroad. However, there is some debate as to whether restorative justice programs adequately address victims’ needs. To this end, the present review of the literature on victims’ experiences with, expectations and perceptions of restorative justice was conducted.
The Effectiveness of Restorative Justice Practices: A Meta-Analysis - Jeff Latimer, Craig Dowden, Danielle Muise (2001)
Current activity at governmental and community levels suggests that restorative justice, in its many forms, is emerging as an increasingly important element in mainstream criminological practice. Numerous countries have adopted restorative approaches, including Canada, England, Australia, Scotland, New Zealand, Norway, the United States, Japan and several European countries.
The Effects of Restorative Justice Programming: A Review of the Empirical - Jeff Latimer and Steve Kleinknecht (2000)
The major goal of this paper is to examine the breadth and depth of existing empirical research. One of the more important issues in restorative justice is understanding the effects of programs on victims, offenders and communities and on the criminal justice system.

Articles

There are numerous articles that provide information about different restorative justice models and experiences and about restorative justice generally. For example:

Victim Offender Mediation Program
A victim of crime summarizes her face-to-face interview with the criminal and how she was helped by the experience.

Videos

Restorative justice videos
This video examines Restorative justice in the context of a First Nation healing circle.

 Transcript

PRIMARY CASE MANAGER:

Jamie is a young person who found himself in conflict with the law after an incident occurred between him and a social worker.

PATRICIA:

He was trying to get me away from the door, and that's where I got my bruises on my arms, because he kept pushing me against the filing cabinet.

When I got to the office, I was just shaking. I couldn't stop. I didn't realize how much bruising there was and everything. It was at that point, my supervisor said, "You know you're going to have to charge him."

PRIMARY CASE MANAGER:

The crown attorney felt that the young person would benefit from a healing to wellness court program.

In Jamie's particular case, he had a lot of supports, and he personally felt that he was at risk of losing those supports if he didn't acknowledge the harm that was caused.

Restorative justice was felt to be the most appropriate way to amend those relationships, to offer Jamie the opportunity to discuss how he felt, and perhaps why he behaved the way he did.

It was the most culturally appropriate and culturally sound way to deal with this justice matter.

RESTORATIVE JUSTICE CASEWORKER:

The first time I met him, we’re talking about a youth that had struggles in his life, and going through so much, and he was pretty angry.

I do an assessment with them so that I understand more about what it is that they need, and then I make the call on who will be a part of that circle.

PRIMARY CASE MANAGER:

Restorative justice offers the community the ability to give input, and to reshape relationships, and provides a space to do that where there is equality amongst all of the participants.

RESTORATIVE JUSTICE CASEWORKER:

Jamie was a little nervous, I guess, because I think this was like being able to confront the person that he had done harm with because it was a person that he knew very well.

RESTORATIVE JUSTICE CASEWORKER in circle:

I am going to do the first round and the first round, we’re just going to say our names, what it is that we are here for, what we do and pass the feather around.

So I’ll start, my name is  …

JAMIE:

I was being put into a different foster home, which I did not like. It wasn't really my decision, really. I either had to go there, or that's pretty much my only choice.

I guess my foster mom at the time needed a break from me, and I didn't really like that so …

I was saying stuff like what I felt and what things I was going through and apologizing, you know, that I'm just sorry, that it won't happen again, and that I'm got better. I'm the new Jamie. That I would do way better.

PATRICIA:

When he apologized, it was a welcome surprise for me to here. Me, and his foster mom started crying, at that point, because she's never heard it, too. It was really good to hear from him.

I was glad I was able to tell him that I loved and cared about him and that I was hoping that we would be able to repair our relationship again, and start working on goals for him. Not just for me, but goals for a better future for him.

JAMIE’S Support Person in circle:

I think it’s important that we stand behind Jamie and listen to him and continue to have open ears to how he is feeling and what he feels he needs to do to move forward.

ELDER in circle:

It’s healing he’s going through right now to be an adult, to continue, get ready for his next step of life.

PATRICIA:

He liked building. He wanted to learn how to make a drum. That was one of the recommendations that, was put in place.

RESTORATIVE JUSTICE CASEWORKER in circle:

How do you feel about what he had to share with us today?

PATRICIA:

I accepted his apology. He spoke of his difficulties in changing some of his behavior.

I was able to see him in a different light and look at him, what he was going through because he never told me before.

It was a good healing process. It ended up including the foster parent, too, which is good.

JAMIE:

I felt that it was very necessary for me to be in that circle because I knew that after everything was said and done, that I've got a second chance and then that I could keep going.

RESTORATIVE JUSTICE CASEWORKER:

When we're able to go around in circle, and hug each other, or shake hands and what not, then you know that everybody’s feeling good leaving here and that for them to be able to make amends like that to me that’s already progress.

To open up that communication, to open up that understanding, to open up that relationship again, I think, I couldn’t ask for anything more.

One victim’s story
A victim of child sexual abuse recounts how she came to report the crime as an adult.
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