The young person who committed a crime against me has been referred to a Youth Justice Committee.

What is a Youth Justice Committee?
What is the Extrajudicial Sanctions Program?
Why did the young person get referred to a Youth Justice Committee?
What does the Youth Criminal Justice Act say about victims of youth crime?
Can I find out what happened to the young person(s) who committed the crime?
How does the Extra Judicial Sanctions program respect me as a victim?
How will my statement about the impact on me affect the decision of the Youth Justice Committee?
When the Youth Justice Committee contacts me, what will they want to know?
What happens at the “Panel Hearing”?
What does the Youth Criminal Justice Act say about the consequences for the young person?
How does the Panel decide what “consequences” the young person is assigned?
How does the Extra Judicial Sanctions program keep the young person accountable?
How do I find out how the case was resolved?

What is a Youth Justice Committee?

A Youth Justice Committee is made up of citizens who live or work in the community where the young person lives. They volunteer to work with young people in conflict with the law, as well as their families, victims, the legal system and the community, to find appropriate, meaningful consequences for the young person. In Calgary, there are 23 Youth Justice Commit­tees that serve 180 communities.

They are interested in supporting young people and trained to assist the government in administering the Extrajudicial Sanctions Program.
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What is the Extrajudicial Sanctions Program?

Formerly known as the Alternative Measures Program (AMP), the Extrajudicial Sanctions Program is an alternative to the court system for young people aged 12 – 18 who have committed a less-serious type of offence. The young person is diverted from the court system and instead, appears before a Youth Justice Committee in their community who is authorized to deal with the young person and their crime.

Section 18 of the federal Youth Criminal Justice Act provides an opportunity for citizens to become directly involved in the administration of youth justice by forming What does the Youth Criminal Justice Act say about the consequences for the young person?Youth Justice Committees (YJCs).

For further information, see Extrajudicial Sanctions Program, Government of Alberta.
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Why did the young person get referred to a Youth Justice Committee?

The police or Crown attorney can utilize the Extrajudicial Sanctions program when a warning, caution, or referral is thought to be inadequate to deal with a young person because of the seriousness of the crime, the nature and number of previous offences, or any other aggravating factors. While holding young people accountable for their actions, the police and Crown attorney respond to youth crime in the least intrusive manner as directed by the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Young people are eligible for Extrajudicial Sanctions when they have committed an eligible offence, accept responsibility for their actions, and agree to participate in the program. It is not the Youth Justice Committee’s responsibility to establish guilt in the case, but rather to deal with pending charges at a community level.

Getting referred to the Extrajudicial Sanctions Program is a privilege extended to this young person and provides him/her with an opportunity to deal with his/her offence outside of the court system. A youth criminal record will be automatically expunged after a two year period (if s/he commits no further crimes).
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What does the Youth Criminal Justice Act say about victims of youth crime?

  • “victims should be treated with courtesy, compassion and respect for their dignity and privacy and should suffer the minimum degree of inconvenience as a result of their involvement with the youth criminal justice system,
  • victims should be provided with information about the proceedings and given an opportunity to participate and be heard”

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Can I find out what happened to the young person(s) who committed the crime?

You have the right to access youth court records, and may be given access to other records (e.g. government or police records). You also have the right to know if the young person has been given extrajudicial sanctions, which are arranged outside court.
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How does the Extra Judicial Sanctions program respect me as a victim?

You have an opportunity to express how the crime has affected you through a written or verbal Victim’s Impact Statement.

Restitution, if applicable, may be used by the Youth Justice Committee to help repair the harm that was caused to you.
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How will my statement about the impact on me affect the decision of the Youth Justice Committee?

The program operates under the philosophy of restorative justice (a response to crime which emphasizes healing the wounds of victims, offenders and communities). Through listening to the youth, parents and you, the Youth Justice Committee Panel members will decide upon a consequence(s) for the youth. Restitution to you is a priority for the Panel members.
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When the Youth Justice Committee contacts me, what will they want to know?

When a file is received by the Committee, a Committee volunteer phones you, the young person, and their parents to gather information that might be helpful in the Panel interview.

They will ask you for a statement and explain that they will be taking that information to the interview, and that it will be used when determining consequences. They will also want to know about:

  • your interest in receiving personal service, monetary compensation, and/or a personal/written apology from the offender in the event of an agreement being negotiated, and
  • the amount of financial loss not covered by insurance, which may have resulted from the offence(s) (i.e. insurance deductibles). Proof (receipts) of the costs you paid out may be requested to avoid any argument.

In the case of restitution being paid to you, the police will usually have requested that you complete a Request for Restitution form at the time of the offence. This form will be attached to the file sent to the Youth Justice Committee. Even if the Request for Restitution form has not been attached to the file by the police, the Committee will still contact you to determine a possibility for restitution. The Youth Justice Committee Panel members will keep in mind that the young person may not be able to fully compensate the victim.
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What happens at the “Panel Hearing”?

There will usually be three volunteers at the Panel Hearing. At this interview, which usually takes about one hour, Panel members will question the young person about the incident. They may also ask other questions about his/her home, school, and social life in order to understand the circumstances surrounding the incident. They will ask about special interests, activities and goals the young person might have.

The parents are strongly encouraged to attend the hearing with their son/daughter. Panel members at the hearing may ask for their input regarding the young person’s behavior, any consequences they have assigned at home, and what consequences they consider appropriate for the young person. Panel members may ask about any concerns that they have about their child.

Panel members will determine consequences in private or with the parents and the young person present. The young person will be required to sign an agreement stating that they will complete the consequences within the given time frame.

It is not common for a victim to attend a Youth Justice Committee Panel Hearing. Most Youth Justice Committees do not have trained members to support the process of victim-offender mediation.
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What does the Youth Criminal Justice Act say about the consequences for the young person?

“Within the limits of fair and proportionate accountability, the measures taken against young persons who commit offences should:

i. reinforce respect for societal values,

ii. encourage the repair of harm done to victims and the community,

iii. be meaningful for the individual young person given his or her needs and level of development and, where appropriate, involve the parents, the extended family, the community and social or other agencies in the young person’s rehabilitation and reintegration, and

iv. respect gender, ethnic, cultural and linguistic differences and respond to the needs of aboriginal young persons and of young persons with special requirements”

Consequences chosen are not to be more severe than a youth court judge would hand down; adequately hold the young person accountable for their behavior; uphold the rights and freedoms of both young person and victims; be the least intrusive form of sanctions while protecting the community; and involve the community were possible.
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How does the Panel decide what “consequences” the young person is assigned?

The Extrajudicial Sanctions Agreement that is reached by the Panel, after interviewing the youth, the parents/ guardians and the victim, will be logical and meaningful. This is the objective of the consequences given. ‘Logical’ means that the consequence fits with the crime, and ‘meaningful’ implies that the consequence holds value for the youth and his/her further development.

These are examples of consequences:

  • A letter of apology
  • Community service (to a maximum of 60 hours)
  • An essay or poster
  • A donation to a charity (to a maximum of $200)
  • Restitution to the victim (to a maximum of $1,000)
  • Referral to a cultural or religious program, if appropriate
  • Referral to a program

The Youth Justice Committee Panel members will keep in mind that the young person may not be able to fully compensate the victim.
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Will my personal information be released to the young person or his/her parents?

In the case of restitution being made by the youth as part of the Agreement, the Youth Justice Committee will maintain your confidentiality. They will take a money order made out to “The __________ Youth Justice Committee” from the young person, and then write a cheque to you. They will not accept cash or cheques from the young person.
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How does the Extra Judicial Sanctions program keep the young person accountable?

The agreement made between the Youth Justice Committee and the young person is meant to ensure that the young person accepts responsibility for his/her actions, and assumes the responsibility to successfully complete the Extrajudicial Sanctions Program.

The Panel members will follow up with the young person to ensure that they have completed the assigned consequences, and return the young person’s file to the Crown attorney at Youth Court.

If a judge has referred the young person to the Extrajudicial Sanctions Program, this is referred to as a “post-charge” referral. In this case, the young person still has to attend his/her next court date, even though he/she successfully completed the Extrajudicial Sanctions Agreement.

If the young person has successfully completed the Agreement, the criminal charge will not proceed, or if already laid, will be withdrawn in court and the youth criminal record will be automatically expunged after a two year period (if the young person commits no further crimes) and there will be no formal youth criminal record.

If the young person does not successfully complete the Agreement, they are considered to be unsuccessful in the Extrajudicial Sanction program. The file is returned to the Crown attorney who will most likely continue with legal proceedings. If the matter is dealt with in youth court, and the youth either pleads guilty or is found guilty, a criminal record will be acquired. This record stays with the youth for a minimum of 1 year for an absolute discharge and up to 3-5 years or more, depending on the seriousness of the offence and the length of the sentence from the court.
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How do I find out how the case was resolved?

A Youth Justice Committee Panel member should contact you to keep you informed. If you do not hear, go to the page on the Calgary Youth Justice Society website which has the Calgary map. Click on your community and through this link, you will be able to send an email to the Youth Justice Committee that is handling the case.

Alternatively, you can contact the Extrajudicial Sanctions Coordinator at the Calgary Youth Attendance Centre at (403) 297-8659 if you are unable to find contact information for the Youth Justice Committee. All young persons’ files are referred from the Crown Prosecutor’s Office to the Extrajudicial Sanctions Coordinator and they will know which Youth Justice Committee the young person was referred to.
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WHAT VICTIMS SAY

  • “Shows victims the community supports them.”
  • “Victims are kept informed.”
  • “An asset to our community.”
  • “Makes the offender more accountable.”
  • “Allows everyone a chance to express their views.”

(Quotes taken from an Alberta Justice survey, 1999)