The following are topics related to the application of restorative justice. These may be useful to launch further research or to identify paper topics. Go to the RJ Library to start your research.

Aboriginal Traditions

Restorative justice draws from aboriginal teachings, and yet there may be tension between the two. These articles address the dynamic linkage that exists in attempting to adapt aboriginal concepts and practices for used in restorative programmes.

Biblical Justice

The Bible was a source of inspiration for many who constructed the institutions of contemporary criminal justice. It was also a resource for some of the early practitioners of restorative justice. Its influence on both groups continues. The following articles examine the relationship between biblical justice and restorative justice.

Child Protection

While unhealthy dynamics and violent behaviors in families lead to the intervention of government officials to protect children, these same families often have resources and knowledge needed to break the cycles of negative behaviors. Restorative practices -- such as family group conferencing -- offers an opportunity of involving extended family members and social service agencies and the troubled families in the process of find responses and solutions.

Community Justice

An initiative to build ties between communities and the criminal justice system in order to prevent crime, repair harm and build communities.

Community/Neighborhood/Problem-Oriented Policing

Sometimes linked to restorative values, these approaches to policing emphasize strong relationships between police officers and community members with an orientation toward helping the community solve problems.

Defense Lawyers

The role lawyers should play in restorative justice programmes is an provocative and complex issue. On one hand, defense lawyers are used to speaking for their clients and restorative processes require the parties to speak for themselves. Nevertheless, a lawyer can be an important safeguard against due process and human rights violations. These articles address these and related matters.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence presents unique challenges and opportunities to restorative justice practitioners. On one hand, the restorative process of taking responsibility, addressing past harm and planning for a better future can look very much like domestic violence syndrome. On the other, restorative responses can offer alternatives to a victim who has kept silence out of fear that the abuser will be arrested and the family's means of support ended. These articles address this important area.

Driving While Intoxicated

The consequences of driving while intoxicated can be profound and devastating, and yet the culpability of the driver is related to the decision to drive while impaired -- the harm caused was not the result of a deliberate attempt to cause harm. These stories and articles discuss issues related to driving while intoxicated.

Due Process

Criminal defendants -- and victims -- have fundamental human rights that must be respected in any state-sanctioned proceeding. A variety of legal protections have been established over the centuries, but for the most part these anticipate a formal legal process. How can the benefits of informal processes be gained without jeopardizing the human rights of the parties? How can those rights be observed without formalizing the informal restorative processes?

Elder Abuse

Elder abuse usually takes place where the victim lives. This is often in their home or in the home of a relative with whom they live. It also occurs in institutions that care for the elderly. Consequently the harm is not only the physical or mental trauma that results, but also the betrayal of trust that the abuse represents. These articles address restorative responses to these issues.

Environmental Crimes

Environmental crime harms communities and the people living in them in multiple ways. Sometimes those harms continue for generations. These articles discuss the potential of restorative justice as a response.


Gangs pose a special challenge to communities and to law enforcement because of the power they are able to exert over the lives of people within their communities. Can restorative processes work when dealing with individuals from violent, tight-knit organizations? These articles discuss that issue.

Hate Crime

Hate crimes are directed at victims because of their affiliation with a group against which the offenders have chosen to take action. Not only do victims suffer from direct injuries, they must also come to terms with the deep malice and bias that motivated the crime. These articles address restorative responses.


Perhaps surprisingly, restorative justice has been used extensively between murderers and the survivors of those they killed. On most occasions, restorative processes take place long after a sentence has been imposed, because of the length of time required for the survivors to become ready for this form of intervention. These articles describe and discuss this use of restorative justice.


The over-representation of minorities in the criminal justice system is a well-known and apparently intractable problem. It reflects larger societal problems in dealing with race and class. How does restorative justice contribute to the problem or to a solution? These articles consider this critical issue.

Neighborhood Disputes

Restorative processes provide an opportunity for neighbors to develop their own solutions to their conflicts while building more understanding and stronger relationships.

Police and Aboriginal Populations

When police use restorative interventions, the strength of their relationships with the community is a key factor in how restorative the experience actually is for the participants. This is particularly true when the community is Aboriginal.

Police Cautioning/Diversion

Cautioning is the term used in some countries for a formal police warning used as a diversion from prosecution. Often conditions are imposed on the offender, and in restorative cautioning those may include meeting with willing victims or community representatives, making apologies, paying restitution or performing community service.

Police Complaints

Police complaints boards are using restorative processes to resolve community complaints against officers.


Any institution must have political support or it will erode or disappear. This is certainly true for restorative justice. But is there an influence in the other direction -- can restorative principles and values help shape political discourse?


Shame is a powerful emotion. Some have suggested that restorative justice allows offenders to experience and then remove a sense of shame for their behavior. These articles discuss the usefulness or destructiveness of including shame as a part of restorative justice theory and practice.


Is there a role for punishment in restorative justice? And if so, how is it different from punishment as we use it now?

Truth Commissions

While South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission has received significant attention, it was neither the first nor the last Truth Commission appointed. This section organizes articles on the topic by country.

Victim Compensation

Restorative justice underscores the need for victims' harms to be repaired to the extent possible. Compensation and restitution are two ways this may be done. Restitution is paid by the offender, while compensation is paid by the government. These are articles on compensation and the issues it raises.