Restorative justice researcher and SFU alumnus Alana Abramson recognized by BC Ministry of Public Safety
By Christine Lyons
Since earning her PhD from SFU in September 2016, Abramson has gone on to join Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Criminology Department and kept busy teaching and contributing widely to her field. Her contributions to developing victim-sensitive standards for restorative justice providers in criminal matters resulted in an online publication by the Community Justice Initiatives Association and she recently gave a talk about restorative justice at an education summit for security professionals in healthcare.
“Often, people are motivated to be involved in restorative justice to help offenders,” Abramson says. “However, these approaches need to be balanced with special consideration of the needs of those harmed. The last thing we want to do is re-victimize people by offering them processing that we hope are healing.” Abramson says learning about trauma has “highlighted the need to learn from this field and ensure that victims feel prepared to participate in restorative justice and that those of us offering this option are well trained.”
In addition to serving on KPU’s Criminology Advisory Committee, Abramson is organizing the first annual celebration of Restorative Justice Week at KPU for the end of November, including an event on November 24th, 2017 “Restorative Justice After Murder," a free presentation and discussion that will highlight both a victim and perpetrator of a serious and violent crime. Abramson is also working with an honours student at KPU to research how educational recommendations by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission are being implemented in BC public schools.