Restorative practice is a strategy that seeks to repair relationships that have been damaged, including those damaged through bullying. It does this by bringing about a sense of remorse and restorative action on the part of the person who has bullied someone and forgiveness by the person who has been bullied.
Once identified, the students who have been bullying meet with the Restorative practitioner and other students who have been selected because they are expected to be supportive of the person who has been bullied (who is not present).
Knowledge of the distress experienced by the person is shared with the group and each member is required to accept responsibility and say how he or she will help that person. The outcome is monitored.
The rationale behind this approach is that when offenders reflect upon their harm to someone they have bullied:
- they become remorseful and act restoratively
- practitioners can focus on the unacceptable behaviour of offenders rather than their moral character
- this can lead to healthier interpersonal relations among members of the school community and more effective learning.
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