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RESTORATIVE JUSTICE

Restorative justice is not just for legal matters - it is for the home as well. Applying appropriate consequences can be a source of tension for many parents. Applying a method of restorative justice at home, in school, with friends, and in the community allows the individual to make mistakes, correct the mistake they made and, perhaps, learn from their mistakes while maintaining dignity. 

It can be personally embarassing to make mistakes that other people your age have already learned from, and it can also be embarassing for parents, friends and siblings. Providing a consequence that fits the issue is an important component to alleviating the tension a theft or problem has caused. 

Restorative justice works as a mechanism to provide the individual with a consequence that fits the orignal mistake, while also giving back to the victim or community. Starting this in the family home is the best way to instill a sense of community obligation and respect for others. When started later in life, it can be difficult to instill to the same degree.

A good example of how restorative justice works is with stealing or breaking things in the family home. When something is stolen and the child is without a doubt responsible for the stolen item, a house meeting could be called to discuss what should be done to make up for the stolen item. If the item can be produced, the child may only be required to do the victim's chores for that week. However, if the item cannot be given back the child may be required to give up one of their own toys and still do the victim's shores for the week. 

In the community this can look like a child who knocks over someone's mailbox being required to build a new mailbox and shovel the neighbour's driveway for the week. This could include other chores such as cutting the grass or raking the leaves. 

It is very important for neighbours, friends, and family to understand the individual's disability and still be given the choice of calling the police if the incident warrants police involvement. In some cases, a neighbour has seen a child grow-up and is well aware of that child's weaknesses and is happy to participate. 

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