Restorative justice is a framework for responding to harm and injustice in a variety of settings, including reported and unreported crimes; non-criminal harms occurring within workplaces, schools, families, and communities; systemic violence and oppression, and historical and collective harms. Based on a recognition of harm as a violation of people and relationships, restorative approaches aim to respond in ways that promote equitable and healthy relationships among people and within our social systems. Beyond a specific program or practice, restorative justice has been described as a “compass” for achieving justice based on a set of guiding principles. These principles guide the development of programs, practices and justice reforms:
Guiding Principles of Restorative Justice 1
1 Used with gratitude from the Nova Scotia Restorative Justice Program
Where appropriate, restorative justice provides opportunities for people harmed, those responsible, and affected community members to communicate directly or indirectly about what happened, who was impacted and how, who is taking responsibility for what, and what needs to happen to address the needs of all. Restorative justice dialogue processes are guided by trained facilitators and can take various forms depending on the community, program, and needs of the participants.
Benefits of Restorative Justice
Parties involved in restorative justice processes have often indicated the following benefits resulting from participation.