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Restorative approaches

Working restoratively means valuing relationships and working with others in ways that promote respect, trust and belonging.

This page offers advice and information on how a restorative approach can support the building of relationships and, when things go wrong, support those involved to repair the harm and rebuild the relationship.

Restorative approaches support the building, maintaining and repairing of relationships. Used proactively, restorative approaches support the development of relationships and communities with a sense of social belonging and shared responsibility.

The development of meaningful relationships through this proactive restorative approach encourages respect, empathy and consideration for others and contributes to a reduction in harmful behaviours.

When working in a restorative community, conflicts are resolved through communication and shared problem-solving. Everyone is accountable for their actions and the impact of those actions. When harm is caused, everyone involved has the opportunity to look at how to take things forward and repair relationships.

Using restorative approaches means focusing on harm that has been caused between people and how it can be repaired.

For those who have been harmed, working in this way provides opportunities:

  • to express themselves
  • to be listened to
  • to ask for an apology.

It provides those that cause harm with an opportunity:

  • to reflect on what they have done
  • to see the effect that they have had on others
  • to make some kind of reparation.

Restorative approaches provide opportunities to learn skills in questioning, listening, reflecting and problem-solving and to develop empathy, responsibility and emotional awareness.

A restorative approach provides a framework for repairing or re-building relationships and establishing communities where people care about and respect each other.

How it works

Using the restorative approach to build relationships involves providing members of the community opportunities to:

  • negotiate expectations and behaviours
  • work together
  • develop social and emotional skills
  • openly communicate to share thinking, feelings and needs in order to aid mutual understanding and the development of respect, empathy and consideration.

Using the restorative approach to repair relationships involves asking everyone involved five questions:

  • What happened?
  • What were you thinking at the time? And so how were you feeling?
  • Who has been affected by what has happened and how?
  • What do you need in order to move forward?
  • What needs to happen now to repair the harm?

These questions allow all those affected to tell their story, to be listened to, to be understood and to be involved in identifying a way forward.

A Review of the Implementation of Restorative Approaches and its Outcomes within Durham Local Authority

This report presents the findings of a rigorous evaluation of the implementation of Restorative Approaches (RA) that took place in two secondary schools over a three year period (2008/09 to 2011/12).

Contact us
Restorative Approaches in County Durham
03000 262 287
Our address is:
  • Children and Young People's Services
  • 19 Brough Close
  • Newton Aycliffe
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DL5 6JB

Restorative Approaches in schools
03000 262 324
Our address is:
  • Education Psychology
  • Educational Development Centre
  • Enterprise Way
  • Spennymoor
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DL16 6YP