Community Services & Programs
Since 1974, Youth Services has been providing prevention and early intervention services aimed at reducing criminal behaviour among youth in Burnaby. Youth Services staff also provides referrals and information to youth and their families on other programs or services available in the community. Youth Services accepts referrals from the community and from RCMP members for youth who are between the ages of 9-17 years and are experiencing some form of conflict within their community.
Youth Services provides the following free services:
- individual and family counselling
- family support
- Restorative Justice circles
- referrals to other agencies
Individual and Family Counselling:
Assessment and short-term counselling is provided to address the underlying causes of the youth’s behaviour. The primary goal is to provide support to the youth and their families and to assist them in learning new skills. The counsellors will work with the youth on issues such as: anger management, self-esteem, healthy relationships, conflict resolution and communication skills.
Counsellors may work with families and the youth with the aim of assisting them in strengthening the family unit and working to resolve underlying issues that lead to conflict.
Restorative Justice provides a constructive and meaningful response to crime and conflict involving youth by creating opportunities for accountability, understanding and healing outside of the criminal justice system. The process provides victims an opportunity to share how an incident has affected them and allows the youth offender involved to take responsibility for their actions, to be held accountable and to be actively involved in repairing harm they caused.
Types of Restorative Justice processes:
Circles and Conferencing: Trained facilitators bring together all parties affected by crime or conflict as an opportunity to repair the harm caused. All those who have been involved in the incident can listen to what has happened, hear how everyone has been affected, and then decide together how to move forward.
Shuttle Communication: For cases where participants are interested in communicating but a face to face meeting is not logistically possible, not desired, or not appropriate, participants are assisted through a process of indirect communication (through the facilitators or through letter writing) to have a process of accountability and information sharing.
Retail Theft Circles: Youth who are referred for shoplifting have the option to participate in a larger circle with store security representatives, a police officer, a youth worker, and other youth referred for shoplifting. The facilitators will lead the group through discussions related to shoplifting and its impacts to provide an opportunity to be accountable and learn from each other and the incident.
How does Restorative Justice help?
Participants who have gone through Restorative Justice are often satisfied with the process which has a number of benefits, including:
- The opportunity for victims to be listened to and acknowledged in a supportive setting
- A sense of closure for victims, which may include an increased sense of safety
- The opportunity for victims to give input on what needs to happen to repair the harm
- Youth offenders gaining a better understanding of the impact of their actions
- Youth offenders taking responsibility for their actions
How does the process work?
Restorative Justice programming in Burnaby is coordinated by a specially trained facilitator. After the conference or circle is held, the Restorative Justice Coordinator will continue to support the youth to help them fulfill the terms of the resolution agreement created during the session.
For more information about Youth Services and Restorative Justice programs in Burnaby please call 604-646-9955. Youth Services’ hours of operation are Monday to Friday 8:30-4:30 pm. Evening and weekend appointments are available upon request.
To learn more about Restorative Justice, please click this link: Restorative Justice - an overview
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