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Challenges to establishing community based restorative justice programs: The Victoria experience

Dhami, Mandeep K
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) Paper presented at the 6th International Conference On Restorative Justice. Vanucouver, British Columbia. June 1-4, 2003. Downloaded 17 September 2003.

In March 2002, a group of community members met to establish a restorative justice program in Victoria, B.C., Canada. They all recognized the efficacy of restorative justice and the need for implementing effective responses to youth crime in their city. The group resolved to help victims be heard and heal, offenders to take responsibility and make amends, and the community to reunite and reinforce positive values. One year later, over 20 volunteers have been recruited and trained to facilitate conferences, and start-up funding has been sought from the provincial government. However, the group has had to overcome several obstacles in the process of implementing their vision. We identify these challenges and offer ways in which they can be overcome. In particular, we focus on: (1) defining and educating the community, (2) creating partnerships with key referral agencies such as the police, crown and schools, (3) recruiting and training community volunteers, and (4) obtaining financial support to sustain the program. The learning that has come from addressing these challenges both contributes to an understanding of the significance of community based restorative justice programs and sheds light on the difficulties inherent in supporting a shift from a retributive to a restorative model.


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