Tuesday, 14 July 2015

"Restoring" order

When harm is done it is relatively easy to identify the primary relationships that have been damaged and need to be restored.

In serious matters, restorative practices also address close secondary relationships by including supporters of both the offenders and victims.

Well-meaning authorities may attempt to "keep the door open" for those who have caused some harm by implementing minimal consequences. For example, a court may apply a suspended sentence for a serious offence. 

In terms of the social discipline window (Fig 1.), such approaches can be perceived as permissive (high support - low challenge). However, this can undermine the confidence of bystanders and their relationships with those involved and the system (justice system, school...). A bystander is anyone who knows that harm was done, before, during or after the fact. 

Restorative (high challenge - high support) approaches  involve the completion of substantial, well-managed challenges by those who have caused harm. Such challenges are important restoring relationships and repairing the harm done. 

\Communicating the successful completion of these challenges can be important for wider bystanders who need to know that justice has been done, and that there is order including social discipline.

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