Restorative Practices are approaches to conflict that attempt to take into consideration the harms, needs, and obligations of all those involved in a conflict. Wrongdoing is treated as a violation (harm) of people and relationships. These violations create obligations and the central obligation is to put right the wrongs by engaging all who have been affected by the specific incident.
Source: “The Little Book of Restorative Justice” Howard Zehr, (2002).
There are numerous restorative practices that can engage all stakeholders (see the Restorative Practices navigation sidebar). The context and the needs of those involved needs to be taken into consideration when determining how best to repair and address the harm of a given circumstance.
Restorative practices may be different from meetings you have attended in the past because they allow the opportunity for:
Restorative practices are typically voluntary and the information shared during a process usually is held in confidence. There may be exceptions to confidentiality if the information is determined to be a future threat to self or others. Each participant usually has the right, at any point, to suspend the process and remove themselves from the process. The facilitator also often holds the right to suspend the process if they feel it is not safe or healthy for any of the stakeholders involved.