Applying Restorative Justice Principles to Divorce
Our current system of justice focuses on the offender. What harm did they cause? What do they deserve as punishment?
What if we shifted our focus to the person who was harmed and asked different questions, like what needs to happen between the parties to make it right? How can everyone move forward?
Matt Johnston is the Program Director with Domestic Violence Safe Dialogue, a Portland nonprofit focused on ending the cycle of domestic violence through safe, supervised conversations with survivors and surrogate offenders and helping both parties foster transformative change. Matt spent seven years working with men convicted of domestic violence offenses, and he is a firm believer in the principles of restorative justice.
Matt joins Katherine to discuss the difference between restorative justice and the retributive system. He explains how the restorative process can be both more satisfying and more painful at the same time. Matt covers the desire for revenge and how it seems to dissipate when people feel heard. Matt walks us through the programs offered at Domestic Violence Safe Dialogue and the top motivators for participation. Listen in for Matt’s insight on how restorative justice differs from forgiveness and how its principles could be applied to the divorce process.
How the focus of restorative justice differs from the retributive system
Why restorative justice is a deeper, more painful process
How money functions as an avoidance strategy
The value of direct participation in the restorative justice process
The healing nature of sharing perspectives
Why the desire for revenge goes away when people feel heard
The myth that revenge will heal or offer closure
How restorative justice differs from forgiveness
How the restorative approach might be applied to divorce
- Acknowledge that dispute exists
- Share from both perspectives
- Collaborate to determine what happened
The situations in which restorative justice will not work
The programs offered at Domestic Violence Safe Dialogue
- Safe dialogue program
- Survivor impact panels
The top motivations for enrolling in the program
- Reduce sense of intimidation
- Answer questions of WHY
The significance of self-forgiveness