Topic Progress:

Up to now we have referred to restorative principles and values but have not explored what they entail. In this topic we will breakdown the core pillars of restorative approaches.


The principles laid out by the Restorative Justice Council we created through a co-operative process. All registered practitioners were consulted over a period of months and it was agreed that the following restorative principles best represented restorative approaches (including restorative justice):

  1. Restoration
  2. Voluntarism
  3. Impartiality
  4. Safety
  5. Accessibility
  6. Empowerment

It should be noted that this is by no means an exhaustive list and there are many principles and values that can be included in what it is to be restorative. We will come to this later.



  1. Restoration – the primary aim of restorative practice is to address participants needs and not cause further harm. The focus of any process must be on promoting restorative practice that is helpful, explores relationships and builds resilience.
  2. Voluntarism – participation in restorative practice is voluntary and based on open, informed and ongoing choice and consent. Everyone has the right to withdraw at any point.
  3. Impartiality – restorative practitioners must remain impartial and ensure their restorative practice is respectful, non-discriminatory and unbiased towards all participants. Practitioners must be able to recognise potential conflicts of interest which could affect their impartiality.
  4. Safety – processes and practice aim to ensure the safety of all participants and create a safe space for the expression of feelings and views which must result in no further harm being caused.
  5. Accessibility – restorative practice must be respectful and inclusive of any diversity needs such as mental health conditions, disability, cultural, religious, race, gender or sexual identity.
  6. Empowerment – restorative practice must support individuals to feel more confident in making their own informed choices to find solutions and ways forward which best meet their needs.



These are the characteristic and standards we try to aspire to promote and be in our lives on a day to day basis. Again, this is not an exhaustive list. When you look through the list, we would expect they wouldn’t seem to surprising. In fact, they are the words most people would write down, words that people want to see in society. Remember the quote “if your not modelling (as pic)

As restorative practitioners we actively try to be these values as much as we can. But we reflect upon them, and try to recognise when we get it wrong to. They are never fully achieved, they are something we work towards on a daily basis.


You could say “is this not just being a good person”. Yes, we would agree. But it does lead us to a very important question.

“Do we all mean the same thing when we say these words?”

This is not a subject often discussed and yet it is a crucial one. We often talk about values in teams. We like the words respect, and tolerance and fairness but when we say them, are we picturing the same behaviours, the same language, the same ways for those values to be demonstrated?

Is my version of respect the same as yours?

Picture two managers in an organisation that put respect at the top of their teams values.



Manager A

Manager A

Your Potential Manager

Their words and behaviours imply that respect is something you give to them by not questioning them. They are in authority over you. They are your superior. Therefore to question them, challenge them, not do what they say immediately is disrespectful.

Manager B

Manager B

Your Other Potential Manager

Their words and behaviours imply that respect in their team is where we create a culture of supportive challenge. Where everyone’s voice is heard. There may be times where decisions are made that do not please everyone but consultation does not equal democracy. And the team has respect for the manager who makes those decisions because their behaviours have been co-operative and empowering.

Which version of respect is correct?

Is there are correct version or should everyone be encouraged to have their own version of respect?

Although it may sound nice, to respect that everyone has their own version of respect and we should honour that, It can be a recipe for disaster in communities. There is no longer a direction that we can all move in. It is very hard to challenge people because “well that’s just your opinion and I don’t share it”.

For a team, organisation or family to work together, to walk together in the same direction, there has to be an agreement on what these values mean. As WRAP, we cannot tell you what they are, that is up to you. But we do encourage you to discuss this in detail with the people in your life. You may be surprised to hear how people interpret these words.


Why are values important?

The image below shows the importance of values in trying to be restorative. The values you bring to the team as well as the teams combined values, make the culture of an organisation.

But culture is interesting because as Dr Robert Loe states


“Every organisation has a culture, but is it by design or is it by default?”

Did your team choose the values it finds important and did it define what day to day habits encourage those values? Did it design the culture is wants?