Belleville and District Youth Justice Committee
The B&DYJC is an alternative approach outside the traditional court system which aims to repair the harm done by a young person to those who have been harmed. The Committee Members play an essential part restoring relationships between person(s) harmed, the young person and the community.
What is a Youth Justice Committee (YJC)?
The YJC is:
- An Extrajudicial Measure/Extrajudicial Sanction (EJM/EJS) under the Youth Criminal Justice Act
- An alternative to formal court proceedings
- Commonly referred to as a ‘diversion’ program
- Under the supervision of a Coordinator
- Made up of trained volunteer members of the community, tasked to bring together a young person (alleged to have committed low-risk offences) and their parent(s), plus the victim and their supports
- An opportunity for the young person to take responsibility for their actions by making amends and for the victims to play a role in the process
Who refers to the YJC?
- Pre-Charge referral process (EJM) – youth are referred to the YJC at the discretion of Police Services
- Post-Charge referral process (EJS) – youth are referred to the YJC after a court appearance and at the discretion of the Crown Attorney
Who is eligible?
Whether a young person is referred by Police Services or the Crown Attorney, the youth must:
- Resides in Hastings County up to and including Central Hastings and Prince Edward County
- Agree to fully participate in the program
- Be low-risk offenders between the ages of 12-17 at the time of the alleged offence
- Be aware of their right to legal council
- Be willing to complete assigned tasks at their skill level and within a defined time frame
Once referred to the YJC, what can a young person expect?
The youth will be instructed by the investigating police officer or Crown Attorney, to contact the YJC Coordinator or meet the Coordinator while attending court. The referral will be forwarded to the Coordinator who will:
- Arrange a meeting time for the initial interview
- Meet with the youth along with their parent(s) to guide them through the process
- Encourage the youth to discuss the circumstances relevant to the referral and any other situation that may interfere with a speedy resolve
- Answer any questions the young person or parent may have
- Indicate when the committee and all parties are expected to meet
- Discuss the expectations of all attendees, ensuring the environment is safe and respectful
- Work with the young person to gain an understanding of their motivation to commit the act
- Offer some insight concerning the impact their behaviour had on the victim and community
What offences are eligible?
- Theft under $5000
- Possession under $5000
- False Pretense
- False Statement
- Minor Assaults
- Accommodation Fraud
- Fraud under $5000
- Cause Disturbance
- Other charges as determined appropriate
What part does the person harmed play?
Persons harmed are individuals within our community who have been directly affected by the actions of the young person. They play an integral role in helping the youth understand how their actions have impacted them, both emotionally and financially. Persons harmed will be invited to participate in the YJC meeting personally or submit a statement to be read on their behalf. The Coordinator ensures it is presented in a safe and respectful manner.
Everyone directly affected by the referring incident will have the opportunity to express their thoughts and concerns regarding the offence(s). This will enable the young person to:
- Better understand their motivation in committing the offence
- Better understand the impact the offence had on the victim and community
After hearing from all parties, the BDYJC will determine the measures to be performed by the young person. The Coordinator will prepare an Agreement which is signed by the youth, their parent and representative of the committee.
What are the possible measures?
- MANDATORY APOLOGY TO THE VICTIM
- Personal service work for the victim
- Compensation to the victim
- Essay that is appropriate to the offence
- Donation to a charity
- Community service work
- Participation in relevant program(s) i.e. victim empathy
- Educational session(s)
What happens when the youth completes the Belleville & District Youth Justice Committee program?
- In the case of Pre-Charge matters, the police service or community agency that referred the matter to the Committee will be notified of your successful completion and usually there will be no further action.
- In the case of Post-Charge matters, you will be required to return to court on your adjournment date and appear once again before the Judge. A written report will be submitted to the court confirming your successful completion of a Belleville and District Youth Justice Committee Program. Upon confirmation of your successful completion, the court has the option of withdrawing your charge.
What will happen if the measures are not completed satisfactorily?
Most young people will be eager to complete their measures as quickly as possible and to the best of their ability. Occasionally, this will not be the case and the matter will be referred back to the police/court for resolution, and your participation in the Belleville and District Youth Justice Committee Program will cease.