Restorative practice builds the health and wellbeing of communities.

Denise talks to Marg Thorsborne about how we can repair harm and restore relationships to maintain strong communities. Learn an effective alternative to punishment that supports wellbeing.


The lowdown

Restorative practice is an approach to problem solving that focuses on the harm and damage experienced as a result of negative experiences. Rather than seeking toname, shame, blame and punish the persons responsible, restorative practice is about trying to understand what caused event. Identifying the harm caused and healing those harms prevents the likelihood of similar incidents repeating.

The 3 key principals of the restorative process are:

  • Inclusive decision making: Each of the people involved have a voice in the process
  • Active accountability: The problem solving process happens face to face.
  • Future focus: Prevention for reoccurrence is planned

A restorative process puts the victim and their wellbeing at the heart of the problem-solving process by repairing harm. Using this approach means the victim is given what is needed to heal and move on. Aggrieved individuals might need others involved to understand their experience of events and might also need to understand why a situation happened.

Restorative practice supports relationships and, consequently, the health and wellbeing of the community involved. The communities we are part of, whether they be our family, school or workplace, make it possible for us to thrive. Repairing and restoring our relationships is crucial for our own wellbeing.

A restorative approach can be successfully used to deal with big and small issues in homes, schools and workplaces. To do this, we need to have accurate ability to assess the state of our relationships and the emotional climate of the family, classroom or workplace. Social and emotional skills are required for this to work.


Additional resources

Check out Marg’s website to find out more about the work she does in restorative practice:

Watch Marg’s TedX talk about the healing power of dialogue:

Grab a copy of Marg’s book about restorative practice:

Find out about the Ministry of Education’s Restorative Practice model:

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