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Contesting policy that undermines restorative justice for victims of crime


Author(s)Ney, Tara
Title Contesting policy that undermines restorative justice for victims of crime
Source Contemporary Justice Review,September 2012, Vol 15, No 3, pp 297-308
Document type Journal article
Coverage Canada

This article explores the concept of counselling being used as a restorative justice process. In British Columbia the Crime Victim Assistance Act provides for counselling for victims of crime but the Crime Victim Assistance Program Counseling Guidelines explicitly excludes an offender being part of the counselling process. Viewed from a restorative framework of justice where relationality is a central premise, the author contends that this policy obstructs some victims to heal from a crime and therefore is not in keeping with the Act's intent. Although the criminal justice system in Canada supports both a traditional or retributive approach to justice as well as a restorative approach, some researchers have seen restorative justice as a philosophy and set of practices that has stalled in implementation. For many victims achieving restorative justice would be a collaborative negotiation between the victim and the psychologist and may require multiple meetings, a large amount of support and preparation for victims and other participants before and after.

Keywords Restorative justice; counselling; policy; victim; offender

Restorative justice