Source: (2006) Behavioral Sciences and the Law 24: 87–102.

Forgiving may lead to an improvement of mental health, and from a therapeutic jurisprudence perspective it is important to establish what aspects of judicial procedures can be changed to promote forgiving. The literature suggests that receiving an apology may encourage forgiving. However, there is a dearth of empirical research regarding the association between forgiving and apology in judicial settings. This paper reports the findings of a study that examined the association between forgiving and four restorative situations (i.e. excuse, admission of guilt, apology, and true sorriness) in a group of 134 victims of gross human rights violations who were actual or potential participants in the proceedings of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The best predictors of forgiveness in this sample were gender and whether victims perceived wrongdoers to be truly sorry. (Excerpt)