Colette Squires & Associates
Mediation • Consulting • Restorative Justice

Have Questions?

What is Restorative Justice?

Based on a non-punitive approach, Restorative Justice:

  • is focused on repairing the harm done, rather than on punishment.
  • involves all of the affected parties, since they know best what is needed to make things right.
  • provides intensive support to all participants.
  • gives each person a voice.
  • encourages responsibility and accountability for those who have harmed others.
  • is a confidential, voluntary, and respectful process.
  • provides an opportunity to get questions answered, and share the effect of what has happened.
  • not only addresses the harm of the past, but helps create a better future for all.

A Restorative Justice process is predicated on the offender’s acknowledgement of wrongdoing. The process focuses on the impact of the offender’s actions, and how those actions have harmed others. It acknowledges that the “victim” is often not only the person affected but may also include the families or friends of both the victim and the offender, as well as the community in which they live.

Everyone who has been touched by the wrongdoing has a voice; everyone has the opportunity to participate in identifying what is required to make amends; and, everyone can contribute to establishing agreements on how to move forward in a positive manner.

Victims and their families who have participated in Restorative Justice processes inevitably report that they have a much more satisfying experience and a greater sense of “closure” than those whose cases have been subject to court proceedings.

What is Restorative Action?

Restorative Action programs are spreading throughout the BC school system as a way of building positive, respectful, and socially responsible school cultures. Restorative Action programs bring the values of Restorative Justice to life within school communities.

Restorative Action programs reduce suspensions, increase positive behaviour, and build caring, inclusive school communities. Restorative Action is based on positive values such as responsibility, accountability, empathy, listening, and respectful communication, which is important for building positive school culture where everyone belongs.

When conflict or wrongdoing occurs, Restorative Action focuses on how people have been harmed or negatively affected. Strategies focus on healing the harms done and restoring broken relationships so future conflict is prevented.

This has proven to be far more effective than traditional methods of discipline, such as detentions, suspensions, and expulsions. Participants in circle processes, small group conferences or restorative mediations report higher satisfaction, reduced fear and tension, and a more positive sense of connection with their school communities and with each other.

What are restorative practices?

Restorative practices apply the principles of Restorative Justice to all walks of life. When conflict or wrongdoing occurs, people are harmed. Relationships are damaged. Tension and misunderstanding increase, and resentment can build. Losses are sustained – and adversarial methods to address those losses usually results in further alienation and relational breakdown.

Restorative practices provide safe and respectful opportunities for meaningful dialogue. This enables participants to speak openly to one another about what has happened, the effect it has had, and to get questions answered. Restorative practices provide a positive framework for making things right again.

Restorative practice is a way of thinking and a way of living in the world. It is about values, not about a program. To live restoratively means to value others, to listen, to have empathy, and to encourage personal responsibility and accountability in how we live and work with those around us. Restorative practices foster social responsibility and a commitment to a better future.

What is restorative mediation?

Restorative mediation is a process that:

  • acknowledges the hurt and harm that individuals feel;
  • clarifies the behaviours and circumstances that have led to the current situation;
  • examines how and why relationships have broken down;
  • creates agreements between the parties on how to resolve past issues and move forward;
  • establishes agreements between the parties on how they will interact in the future;
  • promotes healing and closure, and a fresh start.

The restorative mediation process helps people deal with what has happened, while also creating future-focused solutions. When participants have a chance to talk about how and why a relationship has broken down, how they’ve been affected, and the harm that’s been done, they have a better chance of resolving it. It’s hard to move forward if you feel you haven’t been heard or understood! But mediation also looks to the future, helping participants create agreements that resolve past issues while also charting a better path for tomorrow.

Our role as mediators is to create an emotionally safe, confidential, and respectful environment so this can occur. This is a collaborative process, and the outcomes and solutions are determined by the participants, not the mediator. It’s the mediator’s job to carefully guide the dialogue to ensure that it will be meaningful, productive, and will facilitate positive change.

As with all mediation processes, the mediator meets with the parties privately first to determine if mediation is an appropriate option, and to hear perspectives from each of the parties in a confidential setting.  This is called an “initial meeting” or “pre-mediation.”

What is interest-based mediation?

When differences arise between people or groups, it’s often because they have unmet needs or interests that need to be addressed. These unmet needs and interests cause people to hold tight to the positions and solutions that make sense to them – but that often collides with what others need and want.  This can be complicated by poor communication, faulty assumptions, or a history of conflict between the parties.

Interest-based mediation and negotiation brings to the surface the unspoken needs and interests that will need to be addressed to help build collaborative solutions that work for all parties.  It is based on the principle that a future-focused, collaborative approach is most likely to bring the best outcomes for all concerned.  As in all processes of mediation, it is the mediator’s job to carefully guide the dialogue to ensure it will be meaningful, productive, and will facilitate positive change.  This may involve both restorative practices as well as an interest-based approach.

As with all mediation processes, the mediator meets with the parties privately first to determine if mediation is an appropriate option, and to hear perspectives from each of the parties in a confidential setting.  This is called an “initial meeting” or “pre-mediation.”

What is facilitated dialogue?

The term “mediation” can often seem very formal and legal, given that mediation is now used in a variety of legal settings.  “Facilitated dialogue” is often a better way to describe the process in less formal settings, especially in workplace situations where people need assistance to communicate well.  The processes of facilitated dialogue involved discussion that is guided by the mediator, with the intent to help people communicate effectively and create agreements for the future that will help them work more productively together.  Facilitated dialogue is a good choice for families as well, who might find the concept of mediation more intimidating.

What is group facilitation?

Bringing in a facilitator is often very helpful when an organization is engaging in strategic planning, or when they need to have a group discussion where everyone can speak, and no staff member is limited by having to play the facilitator role.  The external facilitator works with the organization to plan the session and is a neutral presence to keep the discussion moving forward in a productive way.  The facilitator may also produce a summary afterwards, upon request.

How do I know if mediation is the right approach?

To help you decide if our services will be a right fit for you, please contact us for a free, preliminary consultation. Then you can consider the various options that may be helpful to you.

How are fees determined?

Our fees are in line with industry standards. However, we do provide a courtesy rate for charities to encourage sustainability within the not-for-profit sector.

Contract fees are mutually agreed upon in advance. Typically, 50% is due at the beginning of the contract, and the remainder upon completion. We also make other arrangements depending on the particulars and length of the contract.  For lengthy contracts we invoice at the end of each month.

Please contact us to discuss the specifics of your situation.

How are not-for-profit organizations different from others types of organizations?

Not-for-profits are all about advocacy, urging the rest of society to adopt causes that bring about positive changes in our world.

Not-for-profits also promote relationships, collaboration, and connectivity. Harnessing the energies of a wide range of people who volunteer time and donate money, not-for-profits bring all kinds of people together with passion and enthusiasm for their causes.

Not-for-profits also have much to teach us. They educate us about social concerns and the profound needs that exist in our world. Volunteer training, newsletters, social media and community awareness programs help all of us become more aware of the good work charities are doing, and the positive changes that result.

The not-for-profit world also faces unprecedented challenges:

  • Engaging and maintaining stakeholder support
  • Producing excellence despite budget restraints
  • Providing evidence of results

Not-for-profits need business savvy with humanitarian intent. Colette Squires and Associates support not-for-profits so they can continue to make our world a better place.

Client Testimonials

“Excellent professional appearance and attitude.  I really enjoyed the overall experience.  I liked the way Colette modified the way each coaching session went, depending on the content.  I also liked the positive energy.”

— Coaching Client

"I’ve been privileged to work with Colette for over 3 years, observing first-hand the positive connection she creates with all parties involved in disharmony. Her communication skills help clarify the problems, assisting participants in moving forward towards a better understanding of each other. Her expertise in supporting parties in conflict to work towards a sensible solution demonstrates her understanding of the nature and needs of conflict resolution. Her background in grief counseling makes her particularly adept in working with hurting people."

— Mediation Collegue