Trainer Biographies

CJI's trainers have an in-depth understanding of theory combined with valuable hands-on experience, resulting in a training approach that is both insightful and practical. CJI's staff trainers each have other roles within the agency while the guest trainers each bring their own range of skills and experience.

Christianne Paras

Christianne ParasChristianne serves as CJI’s Training and Education Coordinator. With 15 years experience in the restorative justice field, she is an accomplished facilitator with expertise in a variety of practice models  including victim offender dialogue, family group conferencing and peacemaking circles. Prior to her role with CJI, Christianne served as Program Manager with North Shore Restorative Justice Society. She has established a variety of justice-related community programs in North Vancouver including the Community Dialogue Series Initiative and Speak Out, which provide opportunities for student and public dialogue on issues of violence and peacemaking. Christianne is also a facilitator with the North Shore Multicultural Society, providing anti-racism and cultural diversity workshops in schools across the Lower Mainland. Christianne holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree (with Recognition) in Criminology from Simon Fraser University, and a Diploma in Criminology from Douglas College. She is known as a passionate, thoughtful and ethically grounded practitioner who brings authentic presence and insight into her practice and training.

Aaron Lyons

Aaron Lyons

Aaron serves as a facilitator within CJI's Victom Offender Mediation Program (VOMP) and was the former Coordinator of our Training and Education Program. For over ten years, Aaron has led restorative processes and training seminars for participants in criminal justice and educational settings in Canada, the United States, and internationally. In 2008 Aaron served as a Youth Justice Coordinator in New Zealand, convening and facilitating Family Group Conferences within the world's first systematized program of restorative justice. He has worked extensively with youth and adults facing issues of gang involvement, homelessness, family violence, substance abuse and psychological trauma. In addition to his work in restorative justice, Aaron has designed and facilitated dialogue programs for groups involved in international political conflict. He holds a Certificate in Community Economic Development and a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Simon Fraser University, and a Master’s Degree in Conflict Transformation from the Centre for Justice and Peacebuilding, Eastern Mennonite University. From his many travels, and from years as an outdoor leadership instructor, Aaron brings a sense of adventure and new possibility to all of his work.

David L. Gustafson

David is CJI's Executive Director. In addition, he is an adjunct professor in Simon Fraser University's School of Criminology, a therapist in private practice, and a registered clinical counsellor. He developed and directed the Victim Offender Reconciliation Program (VORP) in Langley, BC, later establishing CJI as the society which administered VORP, the present Victim Offender Mediation Program (VOMP), and other community justice and therapeutic programs. He led in the design and implementation at Stave Lake Correctional Centre of highly regarded programs for sexual offenders and adult survivors of incest and sexual assaults. David delivers training and informational workshops locally and internationally, and consults with correctional services and other organizations interested in developing programs similar to those run by CJI. He holds a master's degree with a focus on Counselling and on Peace and Conflict Studies.

Guest Trainers

Dan Basham

Dan is a major advocate for restorative justice throughout British Columbia.  As a former CJI School Program Worker, Dan handled referrals for conflicts within the Langley School District, and trained students and staff in various restorative processes including mediation, conferencing and circle processes.  Dan became involved with restorative justice out of his own personal tragedy and came to realize that punitive, institutional responses to harm are inadequate for bringing about healing and accountability, be it in the courts or in school settings. Dan's own story is powerful and compelling and has given him valuable insight into the effectiveness of restorative processes.

Raj Dhasi

Raj has been assisting organizations and communities with issues of conflict, change and interpersonal harm for over 15 years. She holds a Masters Degree in Organizational Conflict Analysis and Management, and is currently pursuing Post Graduate studies in the field of Neuroscience and Counselling. In addition to training with Community Justice Initiatives, Raj works as a consultant, post-secondary instructor, and mediator in private practice. A gifted trainer and facilitator, Raj is sought after for her energetic and engaging style, extensive knowledge, and a balance of keen intuition with sharp strategic thinking.

Alan Edwards

Alan has been active in restorative justice and conflict resolution since 1997 as a facilitator, writer and instructor. As an instructor, Alan has delivered training curricula in many locations throughout Canada and the United States. Since 2004 under of the Restorative Opportunities Program of Corrections Canada, Alan has been facilitating communication between victims of serious violent crime and those who have caused them harm. Having one foot in each of the distinct worlds of conflict and violence allows Alan to approach his work in either area with clarity, insight and passion. Alan is known and respected for his deep theoretical knowledge, focussed presence, quick wit and incisive intellect.

Gillian Lindquist

Gillian holds a certificate in Conflict Management and a certificate in Restorative Justice from the Alberta Arbitration and Mediation Society, and a Bachelor of Arts in Justice Studies from Royal Roads University. Gillian has extensive experience working in community based and collaborative methods of conflict management and restorative justice, and has worked with a spectrum of community agencies. Currently, in addition to work as a trainer with Community Justice Initiatives, Gillian is the Program Coordinator and Executive Director for the Victoria Restorative Justice Society. Gillian teaches courses in conflict management and restorative justice in a variety of settings. She is assistant faculty for the School of Peace and Conflict Management at Royal Roads University, an instructional coach for the Masters of Arts in Dispute Resolution at the University of Victoria, and an instructor for Police and Restorative Justice (an online course in restorative justice for police officers). Gillian is an intuitive and insightful leader of group processes.

Alana Abramson

Alana has been involved with the field of restorative justice as an academic, trainer, and practitioner since 1999.  She has written about the roles of police and community in restorative practice while completing her Masters Degree in the School of Criminology at Simon Fraser University.  Alana has extensive practical experience implementing restorative approaches in prison, school, and community settings.  Alana has been the Executive Director of the North Shore Restorative Justice Society, Co-coordinator of the Alternatives to Violence Project, Criminology Instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnique University and Simon Fraser University, member of the North Shore Adults at Risk Support Network, and professional member of the North Shore Family Court and Youth Justice Committee.  She is currently completing her PhD on the topic of Restorative Justice and Post Secondary Education at Simon Fraser University.  Alana brings a strong passion, refined skill and authentic caring to her practice and training.

Pam Penner

Pam holds a master's degree in Conflict Analysis and Management, a certificate in Conflict Resolution from the Justice Institute of BC, and is also certified as a mediator with the Community Dispute Resolution Program. She has extensive experience working in the field of conflict resolution as a mediator, facilitator, coach and trainer. In private practice since 1998, Pam specializes in workplace dispute resolution, team building, and strategic planning.

Community Justice Initiatives Association