Gap Analysis of Research Literature on Issues Related to Street-Involved Youth



In March 2000, the Deputy Minister and Attorney General of Canada hosted a one-day symposium on access to justice, titled Expanding Horizons: Rethinking Access to Justice in Canada. The purpose of the Symposium was to explore new directions and identify emerging challenges for assuring access to justice for Canadians in an increasingly complex and demanding environment. Approximately 100 people from across the country attended the Symposium, including members of the judiciary, representatives from the Law Commission, officials from the highest ranks of the police, justice service practitioners, and leading thinkers from outside the justice domain.

The symposium left all participants with one resounding message, quite remarkably, from a large group of leading thinkers from within the justice system and from other areas of human endeavor. The key message was not so much that the justice system – both civil and criminal justice, but especially the criminal justice system – does not work. On that issue there was overwhelming agreement. The truly surprising message that emanated forcefully from this conversation was that there is a tremendous appetite for change among leaders from both inside and outside the justice system.

The Symposium did not produce a recipe for change, however it produced a strong endorsement for experimentation – and to get on with the job of exploring options for change forthwith – and a set of themes that can act as guideposts toward innovative and more accessible forms of justice. Some of the symposium findings included access to the justice system is not access to (social) justice, providing justice is contingent upon recognizing diversity and diverse needs (one size does not fit all), and considerable support for community-based and holistic justice-related programs and initiatives.

This report is part of the Research and Statistics Division's on-going commitment to further explore the results of the Deputy Minister's symposium on access to justice and identify key issues that relate to this important policy area. One area of examination is access to (social) justice for street involved youth. Access to justice barriers for this population include much more than access to the formal legal system (e.g. access to housing, education, employment and health services). To help understand the various "access" issues experienced by street involved youth, the Division commissioned a review of the literature in this area to examine the state of knowledge and research needs. The results of this report will assist the Division and other interested partners in identifying possible research projects on street-involved youth.

About the Author

CS/RESORS Consulting is an established social policy research and program evaluation company with a main office in Vancouver and associates in Ottawa and Montréal. The team of highly experienced professionals provides a nation-wide research capability in both official languages (as well as in Cantonese, in our Vancouver office). CS/RESORS staff and associates combine over five decades of experience using the most effective methodologies. Extensive research and project management in government settings, long experience with community organizations and their policy concerns, strong academic background, and a highly professional, consultative style of client service - these qualities characterize the team and the performance of CS/RESORS Consulting Ltd. CS/RESORS Consulting has completed several justice-related projects, including research and evaluation in the areas of sexual assault, child sexual abuse, violence against women and corrections.

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