Restorative justice views crime as more than breaking the law – it recognizes the harm that these incidents cause to people, relationships, and the community. It seeks to restore relationships and creates an environment where all involved are given the opportunity to be heard.
The underlying principle in a restorative justice approach is to put things right as much as possible when a crime, injustice or harm has occurred
Restorative justice is an approach that focuses on the repair of harm and restoration of damaged relationships caused by specific incidents between people and within communities. This can happen in one of two contexts:
Restorative justice in the context of the justice system is a way of looking at crime. It is a
response to crime that focuses on addressing the harm suffered by victims, holding offenders
accountable for the harm they have caused and collectively dealing with the consequences of the
crime. Depending on the harm caused, restorative justice may involve the victim, the offender,
their social networks, justice agencies, and all those impacted by the crime.
Restorative justice in a non-criminal context means any process which seeks to address
or repair the harm caused by the actions of another person(s) and to collectively deal with the
aftermath of the damaged relationship. In this context the term victim is replaced by “person
harmed” that is, someone who has been directly harmed or affected by the actions of another
person. The term offender is replaced by person responsible or harm doer which means the
person who bears the responsibility for the action that caused the harm or affected another person.
1. Address harms that have occurred and subsequent needs of the persons harmed
2. Address obligations that result from this harm.
3. Address the cause of the harm
The following principles support the underlying basic principle of restorative justice:
4. Participation by all of those impacted by the incident
5. Balance concern for all
6. Use of Collaborative Outcomes
A restorative process has the following elements:
• It is voluntary
• It respects all of the participants
• It is held in a safe place
• It has informed consent
• It holds the person responsible for the harm accountable
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