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Strategic alliance

November 20, 2006

Source: Dalhousie University

Nova Scotia’s restorative justice program will be the subject of a significant research project led by Dalhousie University.

The federal Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council has awarded a Community University Research Alliance (CURA) grant to Dalhousie University in the amount of $1 million over five years to conduct research into the provincial restorative justice program. This is the first time in the university’s history that Dalhousie has been awarded such a grant.

The CURA research will focus on five themes related to the practice of restorative justice: translating principles into practice, community, diversity and equity, gender, and conceptualizing and measuring success.

"I would like to congratulate Dalhousie University on being awarded this very prestigious grant," said Justice Minister Murray Scott. "I’m very excited about the project as this research will give us tremendous insight into our restorative justice program."

Along with Dalhousie University, other partners involved in the research study include the Nova Scotia Department of Justice and Saint Mary’s University. Researchers from Acadia University, the University of Western Ontario and the University of Toronto are also involved. These researchers will collaborate with the 18 community partners which represent the major stakeholders in Nova Scotia’s Restorative Justice Program.

Under restorative justice, all parties affected by a wrongdoing are brought together to address the resulting harms and make a plan for the future aimed at restoring equality to the affected relationships. The Nova Scotia initiative is the most comprehensive restorative justice program in Canada.

"Nova Scotia is a world leader in restorative justice and this research grant provides an exciting opportunity to profile this program, to learn from its experience and explore the challenges and issues presented in the course of the operation of this comprehensive and developed program," said Dalhousie Professor Jennifer Llewellyn, Director of the Nova Scotia Restorative Justice - CURA initiative. "The NSRJ-CURA stands to make a significant contribution to the development of restorative justice theory and practice, provincially, nationally and globally."

The Community University Research Alliance brings postsecondary institutions and community organizations together to work as equal partners in research endeavours. Such collaboration can lead to the development of new knowledge and capabilities in key areas, provide new research training opportunities and enhance the ability of social sciences and humanities research to meet the needs of Canadian communities in the midst of change.

An official launch of the CURA project took place on November 17. The event included a workshop and panel discussion aimed at introducing restorative justice, the Nova Scotia program and the research projects the CURA will undertake.

The launch coincides with Restorative Justice week (Nov. 12 - 19).

by Charles Crosby



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