About Restorative Practice

About Restorative Practice

Restorative Practice is a whole community philosophy, in action, that places respectful relationships at the heart of culture, justice, education, family and community services, neighbourhoods and workplaces.

Restorative Practice builds and maintains inclusive networks of positive relationships and uses a range of tools to restore relationships where harm and misconduct occur.

Restorative Practice is based on the underlying philosophy of:

“People are happier, more cooperative and productive, and more likely to make positive changes when those in authority do things with them, rather than to them or for them”.  (Wachtel & Wachtel, 2012)

Fundamental Concepts of Restorative Practice

  • Misconduct is a violation of people and relationships.
  • Violations create obligations and liabilities.
  • Restorative Practices seek to heal and put things right.

(adapted from Zehr and Mika, 1997)

Building and Maintaining Positive Relationships

We are biologically wired to connect with each other.  In other words, we have evolved to survive by living in social settings.  We care about others and we need others to care about us.  With this in mind, we need to actively build positive relationships.  Restorative Language and Circles are proven tools used between two or more people to build and maintain relationships and transform harmed relationships.

Community: recognise our need to belong to community such as: family, work, sports, religious, neighbourhood, city

Inclusion: collaborative problem solving, and future planning together

Responsibility: accepting our own part in relationships

Care: empathy, tolerance and respect for ours and others’ wellbeing

Listening: intentional listening and acknowledgement

Equality: fair and transparent interactions

Support: receiving and providing support for each other

Repairing (less serious) Harmed Relationships

Individuals and communities thrive best in an environment of positive relationships.  However, at times our relationships can be harmed.  The following restorative questions help to understand what went wrong and how to move beyond the harm in a safe and respectful way.

The questions are asked in a non-accusatory and inquisitive manner, time is allowed for answers and the people involved are the people who have the answers.

To ask someone who has CAUSED HARM

  • What happened?
  • What were you thinking at the time?
  • What have you thought about since?
  • Who has been affected, and how?
  • What needs to happen to fix things?
  • How can we make sure this doesn’t happen again in the future?

To ask someone who has BEEN HARMED

  • What did you think when you realised what had happened?
  • What affect has this incident had on you, and others?
  • What has been the hardest thing for you?
  • What do you think needs to happen to make things right?

Formal Facilitation to Transform (seriously) Harmed Relationships

Sometimes relationships can be so fractured there is a need for an external and unbiased person to facilitate the transformation.  Restorative Practice Facilitators, approved by the Whanganui Restorative Practices Trust, are available to help participants navigate their way through the difficult time.

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