What are Restorative Practices?

Restorative Justice is a broad term used to describe a values-based approach to conflict and harm which prioritizes respect, responsibility, repair, and relationship. Dr Carolyn Boyes-Watson defines the term to encompass “a growing social movement to institutionalize peaceful approaches to harm, problem-solving, and violations of legal and human rights. These range from international peacemaking tribunals such as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa to innovations within our criminal justice system, schools, social services and communities. Restorative approaches seek to balance the needs of the victim, wrongdoer, and community through processes that preserve the safety and dignity of all…Restorative justice seeks to build partnerships to reestablish mutual responsibility for constructive responses to wrongdoing within our communities.”

Restorative Practices refer to a collection of processes for building, maintaining and repairing relationships in various institutional settings. These practices develop social and communication skills and enable conflicts to be resolved peaceably in a way that promotes mutual understanding.

Restorative Practices are founded on the values of RelationshipRespect and Responsibility.

A Restorative Community can be built in any setting where people share in ongoing relationships – families, schools, workplaces, universities, residential facilities. A restorative community is underpinned by the principles of inclusion, democratic participation, accountability, deep listening and respectful dialogue.

We teach, coach, and facilitate the following processes to help you build your restorative community.

 

Restorative processes can be employed at three levels:

 

Build Relationships

Connection circles

The Connection Circle is a structure for bringing communities together that builds relationships and allows participants to practice important skills such as open, honest communication and active listening. The connection circle model is highly adaptable and can also be used to establish group norms, respond to group behavior, or process community trauma. 

Maintain Relationships

Restorative conversations

The Restorative Conversation model allows you to resolve one-on-one conflict through focusing on the impacts of the action and what both parties can do moving forward. 

 

Repair Relationships

Restorative Justice

When an incident resulting in harm has occurred, a formal reintegrative intervention modeled on Restorative Justice allows us to take responsibility for repairing the harm caused by our offending actions. 

 

 


Learn about the history and impact of restorative justice in Aotearoa New Zealand and its relevance to you through the EdX course, Restorative Justice and Practice: Emergence of a Social Movement