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Statement by the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime

Restorative Justice Week 2009

OTTAWA (Ontario), November 17, 2009 - Canada's Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime, Steve Sullivan, today released the following statement to mark Restorative Justice Week.

"One of the most common frustrations we hear from victims is that they feel excluded from the Canadian justice system. They want to be heard and respected. They want the impact of the crime and its fallout to matter and to be considered as part of the process. Often, they want a chance to express how the trauma has affected their lives and to ask questions. For many, this is all a part of the healing process."

"Restorative justice offers victims opportunities that the criminal justice system does not. It makes them an equal party and affords them control over their involvement. It gives victims a forum ask the questions they want answered and to explain their pain to the offender without being censored. When done properly, restorative justice can be an important tool for recovery and rehabilitation for the victims who choose it."

"Programs that apply true restorative justice principles should be used more often, at various stages of the criminal justice process. In addition to its benefits for victims, it holds offenders accountable in a way the justice system cannot. I encourage those in the field to continue with their good work and for the federal government to ensure that restorative justice has a strong and growing place in its corrections and conditional release agenda."

The Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime helps victims to address their needs, promotes their interests and makes recommendations to the federal government on issues that negatively impact victims.

Media contact:

Christina McDonald
Telephone: 613-941-3428