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What is Restorative Justice?

Restorative justice is a concept and practice that has been defined and used by practitioners across many settings.  Early principles and practices — centering healing and compassion —  sprang from indigenous peoples and communities.  Western practitioners began adapting them in the 1970s, often giving little credit to the indigenous traditions from which they stemmed.

We have arrived at a nuanced definition that guides our work:

Restorative justice is a human-centered approach to repairing and preventing harm.

It requires honest and often difficult conversations between people who have experienced harm and those who have caused it. 

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Restorative processes can take many forms, including one-on-one facilitated conversations and circle-processes that provide everyone involved (and their support people) the opportunity to be seen and heard.

Restorative justice allows people who have experienced harm to speak their truth and ask for their specific needs to be met.  It requires people who have caused harm to fully acknowledge the harm they’ve caused by naming it, discussing their understanding of the impact of their actions, actively listening to the person(s) they harmed (or a proxy) and then making amends for the harm they have caused.  Amends are active; they require the individual or institution to continually take steps to ensure the harmful behavior does not happen again.

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Are you an Institution that did not respond appropriately to disclosures and want to be accountable?  Or does your organization simply want to build better accountability processes?  

We can help.

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Contact us if you or someone you know needs support or if you'd like to share your story.

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