Restorative practices

When working with conflict, we focus on repairing the harm that has been done to encourage lasting change and prevention.

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We believe using restorative practices in the context of violence prevention can lead to a greater understanding of the impact that violence and violent actions (and their precursors like bullying) can have on other people. 

This in turn leads to a more permanent change in mind-set of those who have caused harm, and prevents future or further harms from taking place.

What is restorative practice?

Restorative practice is a way of working with conflict that puts the focus on repairing the harm that has been done. It is an approach to conflict resolution that includes all of the parties involved.

It is a proactive way of working with people, not doing things to them, not doing things for them, and not being neglectful and doing nothing at all (Wachtel and McCold, 2001, p.117). 

It aims to increase the opportunities for dialogue at every level, modeling a Youth Work Approach—youth workers will tell you they frequently use this approach in their community-based settings.

Is restorative practice effective?

Experience and evidence at local and national levels shows that restorative processes have a positive impact in changing attitudes and social norms, especially with positive behaviours and the normalisation of non-violent solutions to conflict.

The positive benefits of using restorative practices include: 

  • Building positive mental health and wellbeing 
  • Fostering positive relationships with more options for responses to challenging behaviour 
  • Young people feeling safe, happy and respected in their environments
  • Making a ‘fair process’ visible and successful 
  • Introducing different and better ways to help prevent more punitive solutions 
  • Tackling anti-social behaviour 
  • Better communication with parents, carers and the community
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