Youth Justice Committee
The Youth Justice Committee Program is an alternative to formal court proceedings for youth aged 12-17 years old.
A youth and their parent(s) or guardian will meet with a committee of community volunteers as well as the victim(s) (if they choose to participate). Together they will negotiate meaningful ways or sanctions for the youth to repair the harm caused. Both the youth and the victims can bring people to support them. The participants in the committee will discuss the harm caused, the impact to the victim and the community, and ways to make things right. Everyone must agree to the sanctions, which are tasks that the young person will complete, and can include an apology, restitution, volunteer work, donation to charity, attending a program or presentation. Once the sanctions are completed, the police will not lay charges, or the charges will be withdrawn by the court.
Youth Justice Committees provide:
- A voice to the victim in the process and an opportunity for them to express how the offence has affected them and what they need to make things right.
- An opportunity for youth to get a better understanding of their actions and the impact of their behaviour on the people they harmed, their parent(s) and the community.
- Opportunity for communities to become directly involved in the administration of youth justice.
- Timely and meaningful resolution to offending behaviour that avoids victims and witnesses having to go to court.
How long does it take?
Youth Justice Committee Program cases are usually completed within three months of referral. It can depend on how much time the youth needs to complete the sanctions.
Is participation mandatory?
The program is completely voluntary for both youth and victims. If you are not accepted into the program or do not complete the program, your case will be returned to the court or referring police service.
Is there a charge to participate?
No, there is no charge. Youth may be expected to pay the victim for damaged or stolen property or donate to charity.
Is there a record kept?
Although there is no conviction, a record is kept for two years. It can be brought forward if the young person re-offends within two years, even after they turn 18.