The focus of restorative justice is on harms which are unjust or wrong. Some restorative practices are designed to prevent injustices by engaging people in just relations, while some undo an injustice through people making themselves accountable, repairing the harm, and acting to alleviate suffering and to reduce the likelihood of further harm. For this to be effective the restorative process should be fair and as far as possible not dominated by any party.
Restorative justice recognises the interdependence and diversity of people and the critical importance of the quality of relationships to individual’s wellbeing and social cohesion. It provides an opportunity to reconnect and to learn how to fulfill one’s obligations to each other’s wellbeing. For this to be effective the restorative process should enable people to assume personal and social responsibility for their words and deeds.
✓ Respect for the dignity of people
Restorative processes work because they include all those affected by a harm or a risk of a harm and because they assume that all human beings are valuable and have the intelligence, knowledge and capabilities to address issues that concern them. For this to be effective the restorative process should generate the safety and respect required for people to feel an ownership of the process and to speak freely.
Restorative justice enables each person to give a true account of the harm or risk of harm as they experience it. It recognises that each person’s account contains truth but may not be the complete truth. Something closer to the complete truth emerges from questioning and dialogue. For this to be effective all participants need to understand the importance of telling the truth and of being sincere in their intentions and in the commitments that they make as a result of the process.