Court Diversion: Restorative Action Centre
Our Restorative Action Centre works with individuals who have committed an offence and with the individual(s) against whom the harm was done.
We are a legally recognized alternative to court and currently receive 300- 500 referrals from the Manitoba court system each year.
We bring people who have been harmed, and parties who have been charged together in a safe, structured situation where they can talk and listen to each other with the goal of building understanding and finding a resolution to the crime. Our work is based on the principles of restorative justice which considers:
Who has been hurt?
What do they need?
Who is responsible for meeting those needs?
We offer a number of processes to meet the needs of the many individuals who use our services.
Face-to-face meetings guided by trained mediators
Restorative Action (RA) meetings with community facilitators
Community justice forums
Ultimately, the program gives those who have been harmed an opportunity to let the person responsible know how the crime has affected their lives, and get answers to lingering questions. It helps the person charged to take responsibility for the harm they caused and make amends.
How does it work?
Once your file is referred to the Restorative Action Centre, one of our caseworkers will contact everyone involved to discuss their concerns and discuss what kind of process will be most useful for everyone to move forward.
Participation is voluntary for all parties.
If the parties are willing to meet, a mediation session is arranged for a time convenient for everyone. Evening sessions are available.
At the meeting, trained volunteer mediators will help the parties communicate with each other. The mediators do not make decisions for the parties, but support those who have been harmed to share information about the impact of the offense, and those responsible for the harm to answer questions, hear the impact, and develop plans for how to put things right. The mediators assist all parties to work towards a resolution that they feel is fair, and which addresses their needs.
If an agreement is reached, the terms are written down and signed by everyone, and the agreement is submitted to the court for review. If an agreement is not reached, the case is referred back to court.
Mediation Services will follow up on agreements to monitor their completion. Agreements often include elements such as restitution, counseling, or community service work.
When a mediated agreement is completed, a recommendation is made that the criminal charges not proceed further in court.
What are the benefits?
Cases are referred to the Restorative Action Centre so those who have been harmed can be involved in deciding what should happen to repair the harm. The process also gives those who have done the harm the chance to take responsibility and try to put things right with the other party.
Mediation helps participants:
Understand why an offence happened
Have questions and concerns answered
Tell their story and have their voice heard
Have a say in the outcome
Reduces the chance of future problems
Gives an opportunity for restitution
Can provide referrals for additional support
For more information on the Restorative Action Centre contact Clare Schellenberg by email Clare@mswpg.ca or at 204-925-3419.