As a founder of Canada’s World Quality Month and a founding member of Canada’s and Manitoba’s Quality Months, I’ll follow up on Restorative Justice’s invitation to engage our communities to build relationships that are fundamental to our identities and to who we are as a people.
I’ll ask our grassroots partners for their involvement and others for their considerations as well.
My intent is to have Canada’s National Restorative Justice help celebrate World Quality Month 2017 with their national theme, “Inspiring Innovation”. ASQ Canada’s initial proclamation centres on one continuous theme … quality of life for all our lives.
At the centre of quality is the dynamic balance of head and heart; its quest, the discovery, learning and application of universal truths for our safety, health and well-being, whatever one’s endeavours are.
Global Innovation – Local (R)Evolution
This symposium’s theme draws attention to both global and local contributions to the restorative justice movement which has grown by leaps and bounds in many countries, including our own.
Restorative justice is constantly evolving and improving how the world deals with harm and conflict, coming into greater use in many fields.
Now is the time to come together to share our innovations and to use this knowledge to push us into the next (r)evolution of restorative justice in Canada. (National Restorative Justice Symposium November 2017)
As a founding charter member of the Restorative Justice Association of Manitoba and member of the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg, I have taken the initiative in helping them celebrate their accomplishments by involving them in helping celebrate Manitoba’s contribution to Canada and World Quality Month 2017.
As Treaty people, the Manitoba Association for Restorative Justice is a committed, collective voice engaging, enabling and strengthening communities in restorative justice practices.
Among RJAM’s values, their first is to embrace and integrate Love, Respect, Courage, Honesty, Wisdom, Humility and Truth as core foundations.
‘We are all Treaty people’ represents an opportunity to leverage the ‘grassroots’ of our society as ordinary people and engage our hearts, minds and spirits towards human rights, good governance and social justice . . . the essence of our lives and quality of living. The opportunity creates a world first from a ‘grassroots’ approach by engaging and raising the voices of the many stakeholders who are usually identified as the ‘silent majority’ from local to international ‘voices of quality’ by encouraging involvement and engagement.
A different way or an ancient pathway?
It’s not about punishment but rather about helping people and communities understand themselves and others. It’s about ownership of their accountability and their responsibility towards others in a more respectful community, their society impacting the common good of all.
Restorative Justice is like trying to define quality. It means many things to different people.
Quality strives towards total prevention for the safety, health and well-being, respecting the integrity of people, systems, technologies and their environments. Its quest is to find attributable root causes, the observable and the hidden. What facts are verifiable and what facts are universal truths.
Indigenously speaking, the concepts of quality of life encompass pragmatic restorative justice. Both are founded in antiquity well before time began and are as ancient as the circle is to life itself.
While the fundamental bases are rooted in cultural anthropology and archaeology, the four frameworks are the constructs dividing a circle into four equal parts. This context suggests more influences on our world democracies than we may be aware of.
These four characteristics are inherent foundations in the dynamic balance and needs in restorative justice;
- Justice – Rule of Law and not Rule by Law – Fair equitable treatment of individuals, groups (and all our relations).
- Equity – Individuals and groups have the same opportunities in life. (An equal chance of life and success regardless of personal circumstance of situation).
- Freedom – To speak, think and act freely as they wish and the choice and right to enter and exit the country at will.
- Representation – Elected representatives act on behalf of citizens common good and right to vote.
Is Restorative Justice as complex an issue as it appears?
Some of the local headlines are at odds for instance; I attended the event when Manitoba proclaims first-of-its-kind Restorative Justice Act and Cases handled in community outside traditional court process. Another news release focused on New Restorative Justice Strategy To Focus On Victims’ Needs, Community Safety: Minister Mackintosh.
The most recent strategy on of restorative justice was … Pallister government to eliminate ‘ground-breaking’ restorative justice program.
Perhaps there are answers are in the Throne speech identifies provincial government’s priorities heading into 2018
Manitoba’s proclamation for Restorative Justice 2017
I requested from the Office of the Honourable Heather Stefanson, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, a copy of Manitoba’s proclamation for Restorative Justice. On Nov. 24, I received the following;
RESTORATIVE JUSTICE WEEK 2017
WHEREAS in the face of crime or conflict, restorative justice offers a philosophy and approach that views these matters principally as harm done to people and relationships; and
WHEREAS restorative justice approaches strive to provide support and opportunities for the voluntary participation and communication between those affected by crime and conflict (victims, offenders, community) to encourage accountability, reparation and a movement towards understanding, feelings of satisfaction, healing and a sense of closure; and
WHEREAS this year’s theme for Restorative Justice Week is “Inspiring Innovation“, it is an opportunity to learn about restorative justice, educate and celebrate along with other communities across the country during Restorative Justice Week.
NOW THEREFORE LET IT BE KNOWN THAT I, Heather Stefanson, Attorney General and Minister of Justice of Manitoba, do hereby proclaim November 19 – November 26, 2017 as
RESTORATIVE JUSTICE WEEK in Manitoba and commend its thoughtful observance to all citizens.
Principles, Values and Processes
Victims are central to restorative justice processes. Unfortunately the activities take place in environments where offender-centered criminal justice systems incur considerable human and financial costs drawing on society`s resources.
A victim’s input and collaboration as well as those of the offender are touted as central to restorative justice practices.
Other voices besides the victim’s need to be heard and involved in the restorative justice processes. Those not able to raise their voices are reflected by various expressed feelings of injustice, disrespect, exclusion, lack of empathy, and irrelevance as a result of the restorative justice processes not only suggest oppression but deliberate acts.
Comments by victims, victim advocates, victim services personnel, and restorative justice practitioners identify areas of agreement and concerns regarding restorative justice. The results indicate actions to fully incorporate a victim-centered approaches into restorative justice practices.
Victimization, sex trafficking and exploitation
Many significant voices are not heard in the protection of sex industry survivors. Their voices are raised and involve people with expertise and experience combating victimization in the sex industry across Manitoba such as sex trafficking survivors, police, First Nations, political leaders, government and non-government service providers.
Grounded approaches are created towards a pragmatic balance of theory and practice around reducing sex trafficking and exploitation, implying opportunities for more timely and responsive restorative justice programs and better outcomes for victims.
Several perspectives follow, one is an overview, a national to international scope of restorative justice while the other is closer to home with considerable depth and hands on experiences in dealing with provincial grassroots issues and impacts. The latter was a presentation at the 2017 RJAM’s Annual General Meeting.
Judging Victims: Restorative choices for victims of sexual violence
Victims of crime often have to deal not only with victimization, but also with the insensitive reactions of others. Known as secondary victimization, insensitive, unsupportive and judgemental reactions can augment the victim’s suffering. When victims react to their victimization in ways that do not meet society’s expectations, they risk disapproval. This includes when victims of sexual violence choose restorative justice (RJ) rather than conventional criminal justice. – Jo-Anne Wemmers, Ph.D.
Modern day slavery and the sex industry: raising the voices of survivors and collaborators while confronting sex trafficking and exploitation in Manitoba, Canada
Sexual exploitation and human sex trafficking are a multi-billion-dollar international industry in which many Canadian women and children are trafficked and exploited, hurt and sometimes murdered by predators. Previous studies have often overlooked significant voices including police, political leaders and prosecutors who also work to protect sex industry survivors. – Robert Chrismas, Ph.D
Campaigns against gender-based violence
Every year the Untied Nations launches an awareness campaign. Nov 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The United Nations theme is LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND: END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS. The 2017 theme leads the the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign, which aims to raise public awareness and mobilize people everywhere to bring about change. The campaign ends on December 16, the beginning of Human Rights Day.