[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][kepler_headline kepler_align=”-center” kepler_title=”RESTORATIVE PRACTICES”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Restorative practices for dispute resolution are modeled after restorative justice, which is an alternative dispute resolution model that focuses on the needs of the individuals who have been harmed by someone else’s actions, as well as the needs of the community of people who were directly or indirectly harmed. Restorative justice differs from more punitive approaches to dispute resolution where the main objective is to punish the offending party, seeking instead to involve the offending party in repairing the harm his or her actions caused and restoring as much normalcy as possible to the harmed party. To accomplish this, the harmed party takes an active role in the process, while the person who caused the harm is encouraged to take responsibility for his or her actions — to repair the harm. Restorative practices can be implemented in a variety of setting including criminal justice, corporations, communities, religions organizations and nonprofits, and in families experiencing conflict. The following are two conflict interventions frequently implemented in a restorative process.

Peacemaking Circles: Peacemaking circles, or dialogue circles, provide an opportunity for groups to exchange stories and build common ground. These shared explorations often enable groups to identify and explore creative solutions to their conflicts as well as develop and nurture strong bonds in both personal and professional relationships. Peacemaking circles are ideal for creating a space that fosters collaboration in healing and/or decision-making. There are several types of peacemaking circles, each designed to meet a specific need.

Victim Offender Mediation: Victim offender mediation (VOM) is one of the oldest and most utilized tools of restorative justice practices. VOM deals with violations of criminal laws by addressing the underlying conflict of and resulting injuries to the victim and offender. VOM emphasizes the right of both the victim and offender to participate in attempting to achieve justice rather than deferring the matter entirely to the criminal justice system. VOM involves a meeting between the person who has been a victim of a crime and the person who is the criminal offender. This meeting is facilitated by a trained victim offender mediator who assists the parties in a dialogue designed to help the victim construct his or her own approach to achieving justice. Both parties are provided the opportunity to express their feelings and perceptions of the offense, and the meeting concludes with an attempt to reach agreement on the steps the offender will take to repair the harm suffered by the victim. Participation by both parties is voluntary. VOM can be adapted to a corporate environment in which a person has caused harm to another individual, acknowledges the harm and has agreed to a mediated dialogue with the desire to repair the harm.

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Because all individuals are unique, the conflicts in which they engage are as well, which is why we utilize time-tested dispute resolution processes designed to create safe and productive environments in which to engage and collaborate.

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