SFU Continuing Studies' Restorative Justice Certificate, 2013
Kim Riddell, a social worker in Abbotsford and a graduate of SFU Continuing Studies’ online Certificate in Restorative Justice, has seen the power of restorative justice.
She spent years working with offenders inside and outside of correctional facilities to help them integrate back into the community after serving sentences. She saw their humanity, believing they were much more than “bad” people.
“You get to see a different side to people than you read about in the paper,” she says. “No one is all good or bad. Offenders are complex individuals with their own set of hurts and needs and deserve the respect of people working with them.”
As a volunteer at the Abbotsford Restorative Justice and Advocacy Association (ARJAA), she’s an advocate for working to restore the relationships between those who have caused harm, victims, and the community—and for changing attitudes about offenders.
ARJAA is working with the Abbotsford Community Police Office to mediate between victims and offenders and seek resolution outside of the courtroom. The association is also involved in mentoring at-risk youth, and they hope to expand their community involvement.
Riddell acknowledges that the restorative justice process can be difficult—sometimes even more difficult than going to court. But in her opinion, it’s well worth it.
“To see victims go from ‘eye for an eye’ to really understanding where a person has come from—it’s just been so rewarding and made me such an advocate for this process. When it works, all sides reap the benefits.”
Submitted by: Amy Robertson