Restorative Justice is a community-based justice process that offers victims of a crime an opportunity to participate in addressing the harm done, and what can be done to put things right.

Whanganui, along with other cities and countries around the world, is celebrating is International Restorative Justice Week from November 19 to 26.

Restorative Justice Trust chairwoman Jenny Saywood said the week is celebrated in over 40 countries each year and is an opportunity to acknowledge the work of committed, innovative individuals seeking alternative resolutions to conflict across justice, education, environment, health and social services.

"We celebrate the role of restorative practitioners inspiring change to the way communities and government think about harm and putting things right," she said.


Whanganui first adopted a restorative approach within the Criminal Justice system in 1999.

"This offers people both the opportunity to express the effects of the harm they have experienced and the opportunity to make amends and work together to put it right," said Ms Saywood.

"Since restorative justice conferencing was introduced recidivism rates have decreased."

In 2012 this restorative approach was broadened to our community as a whole.

The vision, Whanganui: Towards a Restorative City - Honoa Ki a Rongo Ki Whanganui was created.

Today in Whanganui restorative practices in our local schools and early childcare centres, workplaces, government departments, non-governmental organisations and the District Council.

"We offer training, mentoring and facilitation services," said Ms Saywood.

There are two trust boards and the justice one is funded by the Ministry of Justice while the practice board runs on community funding.

"We are very fortunate to have wonderful volunteers who come from backgrounds where restorative practice is used".

She said an example of how restorative practice might be used in a workplace is where a situation has reached crisis point and people are blaming each other.

"The restorative approach is to be proactive rather than reactive.

"Rather than blame a group or individual, the approach encourages participants to explore the causes and look for solutions."

Ms Saywood said the restorative approach brings the community together to work for the well-being of all its people.

"It is particularly important for our young children to understand how to build respectful relationships and learn skills to resolve conflict peacefully, as they are our future leaders," she said.

For more information visit the website Whanganui Restorative Practice