When Harm Happens: A Restorative Justice Protocol for Repairing Community Relationships

At Youth Power Coalition we once met with a challenge about trying to navigate through conflict with everyone’s best interests at heart. With the help of so much brilliant work that’s been done in the restorative justice space, we were able to compile a protocol that worked for us and we hope it helps others navigate through conflict as well.

Excerpt

Components of Restorative Justice

  • Restorative Justice is “getting back into good relationship”
  • Relationship within yourself, relationship with one another, relationship between orgs, and relationship as a movement
  • This will take time, and will come in stages
    • Immediate harm reduction
    • Intermediate restorative justice goals
    • Long-term restorative justice goals
  • Impact =/= Intent. Causing harm =/= being a bad person. Conflict is normal and moving through a conflict can be a process of growth
  • We have universal human needs like need for rest, the need to be heard, and the need to be acknowledged. We can use different strategies to meet needs. The difference between strategy and needs gives us permission to imagine alternative strategies.
  • Conflict often feels interpersonal AND conflicts also become interpersonal because of structural issues that can be corrected for. Issues like lack of clarity over who does what and makes what decisions. Or lack of alignment around visions, missions, and aims. Or misalignment around where we are between the polarity of getting things done and getting along and the polarity of getting things right and getting appreciated. We can work together when we don’t like one another. We can work on the level of principles.
  • We are different. “The way to build power is not to ignore those differences but to find where there is shared alignment and to make the most of the differences strategically.” —Zaps

Full Protocol

Resources

Integrate NYC Peer Defense Project