The Inuvik Justice Committee was started in May of 1992 when concerned citizens of Inuvik realized there was a need for community involvement in the criminal justice system, and that different approaches were required in dealing with both victims and offenders. It was incorporated as a Society on December 16, 1996.
The committee was formed by several community volunteers who then dealt with offenders who accepted responsibility for their actions, did not have a lengthy history with the criminal justice system, whose crimes were not serious, and where it had been recommended by the RCMP and/or court. The purpose was to provide an alternative to the criminal justice system for those who were willing to make changes in their lives. The basis of restorative justice is that the offender and victim meet to acknowledge the harm caused by the actions of one against the other in a supportive setting. In diversions as we know them now, the offender then also makes amends to the victim and community by a variety of means decided upon by the board and the justice coordinator.
Recognizing that additional support was required for victims of crime and tragedy the Inuvik Justice Committee added the position of Victim Support Worker in 2000.
The purpose of the committee is to facilitate community-based restorative justice and to provide a voice for victims of crime. They work in cooperation with the RCMP, Probation Services, Crown Counsel, defence lawyers, Social Services and the court system to accept referrals of cases deemed to be appropriate for community resolution and/or where victims of crimes may need assistance. The committee endeavours to find solutions to the crimes that affect the local community and provide a means by which youth and individuals accused of minor offences can avoid a permanent criminal record.
Currently there are three staff; one Justice Coordinator, one Inuvik Victim Services Worker and one Outreach Victim Services worker, and along with a volunteer board we aim to assist those involved in the court system or who may just be going through a hard time. We run preventative programs designed at raising awareness about issues in our communities and promote wellness and healing.