The Community Justice Forum (CJF) is the primary model of restorative justice endorsed by the RCMP. This model invites the offender’s supporters, the victim, the victim’s supporters and the investigating officer, in addition to the offender, to attend, as well as anyone else who has been affected or harmed by the incident. The Community Justice Forum uses a trained facilitator to guide participants through the resolution process. The facilitator follows a script to maintain order, keep the group on task, and ensure that each participant is heard. The participants, not the facilitator, agree on the resolution.
The following criteria must be met before the case is deemed suitable for a CJF:
- The victim must be in agreement with the CJF and be willing to actively participate by speaking about how the offense affected him/her, and how the matter can be resolved.
- The offender must accept responsibility and be willing to actively participate.
Chilliwack Restorative Justice will assign a facilitator and co-facilitator who will meet with all parties individually to discuss the incident, explain the procedure, and answer questions. The offender will sign a Participation Agreement, which outlines that the offender has the option of withdrawing from the procedure at any time, that they may speak to a lawyer, and that they are participating voluntarily. The location of the CJF should be neutral (not in the home of the offender or victim). At the forum, each participant is given a chance to talk about how the incident has affected him/her and decide on a resolution that will help repair the harm caused. The facilitator’s responsibility is to help the process along by asking appropriate open questions, clarifying points, and ensuring that the outcome is reasonable and satisfactory to all parties. The Resolution Agreement should not be prepared until all participants have been consulted, and each once is satisfied with the conditions. Consensus of all parties is necessary.
A volunteer Mentor will be assigned to do the follow-up with the offender and will act as a liaison between him/her and Chilliwack Restorative Justice until the Resolution Agreement is completed. The Mentor follows up regularly with phone calls and visits.
When a Resolution Agreement has been completed, the offender is given a letter of completion. All parties are asked to provide comments on the process by completing an evaluation.