KAMLOOPS — It's Victims and Survivors of Crime Week across Canada, a time to raise awareness of services, laws, and paths to healing for those impacted by crime.
A Vancouver woman visited Kamloops this week to share her story of healing through restorative justice processes.
On September 16, 1992 her family's lives were changed forever.
"When I was 11 years old a young man high on a number of substances broke into my home, and upon confrontation murdered my father," Cragg said.
Cragg and her family were living in Calgary when her father, Dr. Geoffrey Cragg, was brutally murdered.
Years later, Carys decided to reach out to the man who took his life.
"After years of healing and struggle I decided that I wanted to meet the incarcerated man who murdered my father," she said. "That was about 20 years into his incarceration, and through a restorative justice program out in the Lower Mainland in B.C., they walked me through that entire process."
After two years of correspondence Cragg met her father's murderer.
"(It was) both surreal, but also kind of just like a regular meeting between people," Cragg said. "We had written so much to and from each other and established that safety and general awareness of him as a human being and vice versa, and so when we came to meet each other I got even more of a sense of him as a person."
Cragg has written a book about her experience titled Dead Reckoning. In it she described the way she found healing, and the importance of restorative justice to her own personal journey.
"Repairing harm, repairing relationships, repairing self can mean a million different things, and so for me it took the path of letter-writing and information sharing, etc," Cragg said.
She said her other family members have no interest in knowing the man who took her father's life, adding everyone's path to healing is different.
"I would ... identify as an advocate for victims and survivors of crime getting what they need, and if that happens to be through restorative justice practices, fantastic, then let's do that. But, if it's through other processes let's do that as well. So, I'm really more of an advocate for victims and survivors of any type of crime getting what they need, because so much is shattered no matter what type of crime has happened."
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