Mitigating Polarisation: Lessons from the Restorative Justice
Like the COVID-19 virus, polarisation is a product of our global interconnectedness. It also illuminates the disconnections in society – unequal access to power and wealth and the marginalisation and oppression of groups of people.
Restorative justice has evolved to address social disconnection by activating the positive qualities of humanity such as respect for human dignity and solidarity with others. Restorative Justice is an inclusive approach of addressing harm or the risk of harm through engaging all those affected in coming to a common understanding and agreement on how the harm or wrongdoing can be repaired, relationships maintained and justice achieved.
The restorative approach understands polarisation as a threat to the values of a cohesive, peaceful and democratic society. The separation of people can lead to seeing other groups as a risk to security or as competition for resources such as jobs and accommodation.