Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any questions that aren’t answered on this page, please contact us.

What if the offender doesn’t show up for the forum?

Community Justice Forums cannot be held without the offender. Rescheduling depends on why the offender failed to appear

Can a Forum be held if the victim does not agree to it?

Preferably no; however, this is a judgment call that will depend on the circumstances. Victims may insome cases submit in writing the questions they want asked at the Forum rather than appearing in person. In other cases, family or friends may attend on behalf of the victim. It is in all cases important that victim who is unwilling or unable to attend in person be heard in some manner. When a victim expresses reluctance to participate, the facilitator should attempt to find out why. There may be concerns that can be removed, including misunderstanding of the process, by means of an explanation from the facilitator. In addition, some communities have alternative processes in place to handle an incident if the victim agrees with the process but chooses not to participate.

Can offenders have lawyers?

No. Forums are an alternative community process, so facilitators must not allow the participation of officials from the traditional judicial process. If a lawyer does attend, the lawyer may not participate in the Forum or speak on behalf of an offender, and must sit outside the circle as an observer only. It is recommended that all participants agree to the attendance of observers.

Do I need to bring a supporter to the pre-forum interview or community justice forum?

Yes, it’s recommended that both victims and offenders bring at least one supporter during the pre-forum interview and the Forum. However, if it’s not possible to find someone to accompany you, the process can still move forward. Victim’s Services may be offered to the victim as support.

Who can I bring for support?

You can bring anyone you feel comfortable with hearing your story, and who you want to be a part of Forum and the decision process for resolution.

I’m 17 years old. Do I need to bring a supporter?

Absolutely, yes. If you are under 18 years of age you are a minor according to the Youth Justice Act. All minors must have an adult present through the entire process. This can be a parent, family member, councillor, teacher, or any other approved adult.

What happens if parties cannot agree?

This rarely happens. But if resolution is impossible, the Forum should be concluded and the referring agency notified of the unsuccessful outcome.

Can forums be held in a Police setting?

Forums may be held anywhere, but a neutral, easily accessible site is preferable. All Forum participants must be comfortable with the location.

Are forums open to the public?

No. Only people with a legitimate reason to attend are invited. Facilitators must know who will be in attendance prior to the Forum.

What if someone shows up impaired?

Forums should be reconvened if a key participant displays signs of impairment. If the impaired person is not essential to the process, the facilitator should ask the person to leave.