Youth Justice Committee
Youth Justice Committee Mandate:
An alternative approach outside the traditional court system which aims to repair the harm done by a young person to those who have been harmed. Committee members play an essential part in restoring relationships between persons harmed, the young person and the community.
What is a Youth Justice Committee:
- Alternative to formal court proceedings under the Youth Criminal Justice Act
- Utilizes trained volunteer members of the community to facilitate victim offender conferences
- Aim is to bring together the young offender, their parents, the victims and their supports
The Youth Justice Committee provides an opportunity at their conference for the young person to take responsibility for their actions by making amends, as well for the victims to play a role in the process. The Coordinator will reiterate the expectations of all attendees and that it is essential the environment be safe and respectful for all.
The goals of the Youth Justice Committee meeting are:
- To understand the motivation behind the offending act by discussing the impact the behaviour had on the victim and the community
The main objective of the Youth Justice Committee is to address and restore the harm done to individuals and the community by the actions of the young person. The program and the committee work to have the youth understand this harm done, and how their actions impacted others. For this reason, the persons harmed or the victims will be invited to participate in the committee meeting to meet with the offending youth.
At the committee hearing, everyone involved –the youth, the persons harmed, community members and other supports –will have the opportunity to express their thoughts and concerns regarding the offence. After this hearing, Youth Justice Committee members will determine the measures or sanctions to be done by the youth. An agreement for this plan is created and a contract is signed by youth, their parent or guardian, and representatives of the committee.
Possible Measures or Sanction may include:
- Apology in person or in writing to the victim
- Victim sensitivity training
- Restitution or compensation
- Educational or reflective essay
- Community service
- Participation in an educational workshop (eg. victim empathy, cyberbullying, sexting, etc)
- Referral to cognitive skills program (eg Rebound, TAPP-C, etc)
- Connection with a community agency for specific and related support (eg. employment, substance use, recreation programs, etc.)
- Advocacy and support (mentoring, counseling, etc)
- Others as determined by the committee
It is essential that the Youth Justice Committee hearing provides a voice for the victim to express how the youth’s actions have affected them. This becomes an opportunity for the youth to better understand how their actions have impacted and harmed others and their community. For the community or committee members, this is their opportunity to become directly involved in the administration of youth justice.