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Exploration of the Association between Apology and Forgiveness amongst Victims of Human Rights Violations

Allan, Alfred
June 4, 2015

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)


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