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Contesting policy that undermines restorative justice for victims of crime

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A policy provision in the Criminal Victim Assistance Program in British Columbia excludes the offender from participating in restorative justice approaches with the victim (and other affected parties) during counseling. A historical analysis of victim responses to crime shows that the victim experience to crime is socially constructed. In this regard, this policy act that excludes offenders from the victim healing process is consistent with a traditional approach to justice, which understands the offender to have committed a crime against the state, not the victim; however, separating the offender from the healing process is problematic within a restorative framework of justice where relationality is a central premise. Using a restorative lens, this policy act is contrary to an accompanying statute that has explicit provisions for counseling support for crime victims, as well as other statutes that provide for restorative responses to crime in Canada. The way we counsel and support victims from the harms created by crime cannot be separated from our view of justice.

Keywords: counseling; law; offender; policy; restorative justice; victim

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of Public Administration, University of Victoria, Victoria,BC, Canada

Publication date: 2012-09-01

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