VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Some Downtown Vancouver business owners whose stores were trashed after Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final want to meet face to face with rioters.  The idea is called restorative justice.

The way it works is the accused meets with the person their crime impacted, apologizes and then the two sides work out a punishment.

Brenda Morrison with the SFU Centre for Restorative Justice says it’s designed to put more of a focus on the victim.  “The thing about a conventional court process is victims don’t get a voice.  At best, they can make a victim impact statement.

“In a restorative justice process, victims get a very clear voice.  We know from very rigorous trials in the United Kingdom, victims of crime feel better satisfaction in the justice system, are less likely to seek revenge and they have therapeutic effects that reduce their symptoms of post traumatic stress,” she adds.

Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association President Charles Gauthier says getting a personal apology from a rioter might help business owners with the healing process.

“There is a criminal justice component that we all want to see happen,” Gauthier said. “But there is also the emotional residue from the riot that I think is going to take a little bit longer to find solutions to and to bring closure to.”

Restorative justice can be handed down by a judge or a person can enroll in a program voluntarily.

“They could be direct victims from the riot or it could be a business owner, but in some sense all of Vancouver was affected by the riot,” Morrison said.  “So, instead of a judge and jury that make the decision about what’s best to the right the wrong, we hand that decision making back to the people most affected.”

Talks between Vancouver Association of Restorative Justice and the DVBIA are still in the early stages.  So far, 61 charges have been laid against 25 suspected rioters.