We believe that anyone should be able to ask for a circle. We can help you do the asking, but who to ask depends on the kind of kind of circle that is needed for the kind of problem you are involved in.
If the police are involved, they have the choice to have the offending behaviour dealt with by the regular justice system, which means laying a charge and having the matter dealt with in court, or diverting the incident out of the usual court system to the FACE Program, where a circle can be held instead of proceeding with a formal charge. This decision is made by the investigating officer, or sometimes by the Crown attorney. Various factors are considered in making this decision, including how serious the offence is, the age of the offender, the offender’s record, and the attitude of any victims of the offending behaviour. It is important that any victims be willing to attend the circle.
A request for a circle can be made directly to the investigating officer or through your lawyer, if you have one.
If the issue is something that happened at your school, the school often imposes their own disciplinary measures, such as a suspension. However, the school may also decide that a circle is a good alternative to a suspension, or in addition to a suspension. Sometimes a suspension will be much shorter if a successful circle is held for those involved in the incident. Schools prefer to see school incidents settled face to face. That way those involved return to school after a circle with better attitudes, and an honest belief that this isn’t going to happen again.
A request for a circle should be made to the Vice Principal either directly, or with the help of a parent or the FACE Program.
Friend or neighbour
If the dispute or incident is with a friend or neighbour, it is a good idea to ask for a circle before the police or the by-law officer becomes involved. Even if they do become involved, often there is no easy answer because now law has actually been broken. For this kind of a dispute, either side, or anyone involved even indirectly, can ask the FACE Program to call a circle. The problem, however, will be convincing both sides of the dispute to come to a circle. No one can force another person to attend a circle. In fact, it is important that everyone comes voluntarily. We can help, however, in trying to persuade others to attend the circle by listening to their point of view, and pointing out the benefits of having the other person express their point of view in the safe setting provided by a FACE circle.
Within the family
Similarly, anyone can call a Family circle. Usually someone within the immediate family requests one, but someone close to the family or a professional or agency dealing with the family can also request one. The problem then is convincing the other family members to attend. Once again, we at the FACE Program can lend a hand in speaking to other family members.
If you need help in calling a circle, or want more information on what to expect, please call us at +1 (705) 528-1444 or send in a request by email.