How to really help victims

“The (bill) is an example of a community that has sold itself to the Conservatives for a mess of porridge,” said Clayton Ruby.
The Victims’ Bill of Rights announced yesterday by the Prime Minister has stirred up some controversy (see above and the TorStar article).
My problem with it is that it pays lip service to the opportunity for a restorative justice approach, which would give victims, offenders and the community a genuine chance to resolve many of their issues. Hidden under many layers of legislation there is a small section saying that the Correctional Service’s restorative justice and mediation unit should be somehow promoted.( Of course the unit is tiny and badly funded.)
I have participated in several parole hearings attended by victims who have made statements. The pain in the room, for victims and offenders alike, was palpable. I know for a fact that the offenders wished they could have the chance to speak directly to the victims, to express their sorrow and contrition, and to help alleviate the victims’ problems somehow. I think the victims would have benefitted from this opportunity, under careful facilitation.
I’ve seen restorative justice work. I really have. We all have a right. A right to a better approach to crime and punishment.

[ This subject needs more depth and breadth. I’ll provide a more detailed account of what I think about victimology in a future post]


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