Indigenous Justice Programs and Services

Last updated on June 3, 2021

British Columbia has programs and services throughout the province for Indigenous people who come into contact with the criminal justice system. They are available at all stages of the justice process, for example, in the areas of victim support, support for going to court and helping offenders return to the community.

Indigenous Justice Strategy Programs

The Indigenous Justice Strategy helps Indigenous communities have increased involvement in the local administration of justice. The programs provide cultural alternatives to mainstream justice processes in appropriate circumstances. Programs are working to lower the high rates of victimization, crime and incarceration among Indigenous people in their communities. The goal is to help the mainstream justice system become more responsive and sensitive to the needs and culture of Indigenous communities.

The Indigenous Justice Strategy currently has 110 Indigenous justice programs across Canada that serve nearly 400 Indigenous communities. In B.C. there are 30 Indigenous justice programs that are jointly funded by the federal Department of Justice and B.C. Corrections.

A large proportion of the community programs involve alternative dispute resolution in a variety of community contexts.  In particular, the restorative justice approaches employed by many communities promote a holistic environment and serve as a valuable alternative to formal court processes. Examples of these approaches include:

  • Peacemaking, healing or sentencing circles
  • Community justice committees
  • Elders’ councils
  • Diversion protocol
  • Conflict resolution
  • Mediation

Access to Indigenous Programs and Services

Victim Services

Indigenous victims of crime can find victim services in their communities by calling VictimLink BC. VictimLink’s services are available in 130 languages and dialects, including 17 North American Indigenous languages. To learn more, visit Victim Services.

Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of B.C.

The Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of B.C. (NCCABC) is a provincial organization with a 35 year history of providing services to Indigenous peoples who come into conflict with the law. NCCABC offices are located in 23 B.C. communities and covers 74% of the courthouses throughout the province 

Native courtworkers provide information and guidance to Indigenous peoples charged with an offence at all stages of the criminal justice process, including referral to legal resources and other community resources such as education, employment and addictions treatment. Native courtworkers provide cultural awareness to justice officials, informing of the cultural traditions, values, languages, socio-economic conditions and other concerns of the Indigenous community and the perspective of an Indigenous offender.

Other services provided by NCCABC are a Family and Youth Advocate Program, an Alcohol and Drug Program, Elders Support Program, Community Outreach, and the Vancouver Downtown Community Court.

More Information

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