Restorative Approaches

What are restorative approaches?

Restorative approaches (RA) are a way of being which includes outlook and the day-to-day skills involved in preventing and pre-empting conflicts and harm. It builds and maintains relationships and community, as well as reacting/ responding when things go wrong.

So, restorative approaches are not simply a set of tools. Yes, there are consistent techniques used in restorative organisations such as restorative meetings, circle practice, and restorative conversations, but this does not wholly reflect what it means to be restorative.



Common Misconception

There is a misconception that restorative approaches are soft. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Holding people to account for their actions is one of the toughest things we can do. In fact, it is much easier to tell someone off and that be the end of it. 

This is what a restorative approach promotes. Accountability, responsibility, valuing others, and communicating effectively.


What are the benefits of restorative approaches?

  • Saves time, money, and resources
  • Improves emotional safety and wellbeing
  • Improves relationships
  • Improvement in behaviour and social skills
  • The building of positive connections between diverse, and even opposed, groups of people 
  • Increases productivity
  • Informal resolutions to potential conflicts before they escalate to more formal procedures
  • A measurable reduction in conflict, sick days, and staff departures
  • Reduces stress levels and stabilises staff turnover 
  • Develops supportive relationships at home, school, and work
  • A safe environment to address difficult issues

Is this the same thing as restorative justice?

In part. If restorative approaches is the whole pie, restorative justice is one slice of it. A restorative approach is designed to prevent harm happening, through building connection, trust, empathy, and understanding of others. However, we know that harm is still caused at times, and so restorative justice helps repair that harm.

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