A Restorative Justice Process

Restorative Justice uses inclusive, collaborative processes. These processes can be adapted, but at their core, they always focus on harms and needs, address obligations, and involve stakeholders.¹ There are many types of Restorative Processes, including: Victim-Offender Mediation; Community Group Conferencing; Community Accountability Panels and more. More often than not, qCJ uses a process called a Peacemaking Circle, heavily influenced by the work of Kay Pranis and Barry Stuart.

¹ Zehr, Howard. The Little Book of Restorative Justice. Good Books, 2015

What is a Peacemaking Circle?

A Peacemaking Circle (what qCJ simply calls “Circle”) is a conversation between parties who have been affected by a conflict or crime. All cases go through four basic stages: Suitability, Preparation, Circle, and Follow-Up. Participation at each stage is voluntary and our meetings are conducted with complete confidentiality.  Circles always have a talking piece, keepers, guidelines, ceremony, and consensus. Where the conversation goes and the outcomes that result from it will depend on the participants.

Referral / Application

A case is referred to qathet Community Justice (qCJ) by the RCMP, another organization, or an individual.

Explanation / Initial Screening

The Program Coordinator assess if the case is suitable and explains the process to the participants.


Participants give willing and informed consent to the process

Case Team Appointed

A Case Coordinator, two Circle Keepers and a fourth volunteer are appointed from a pool of trained volunteers.


Building upon the initial screening process, interviews are conducted with participants and their support people.


The Case Team and participants determine who will be in the Circle and participants become comfortable with the Circle Process.


A facilitated dialogue occurs between participants. An agreement on how to heal the harm is developed.

Follow Up

The Resolution Agreement is monitored for completion and the Circle Process is evaluated by both participants and the Case Team.

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