You may have heard the phrase hurt people hurt people. Transformative justice is a method of harm reduction that seeks to break cycles of harm without causing additional harm.
What exactly is transformative justice?
Transformative justice is a method of responding to harm without resulting in further harm – in other words, it seeks to minimize harm to the utmost extent.
Transformative justice is a non-binary way of looking at punishment, healing, accountability, apology, and forgiveness. It requires the person who has caused harm to look deep within themselves and understand why the harm occurred, how to properly apologize for the harm done, and how to use their newfound self-awareness to prevent harm moving forward.
How does transformative justice work?
Transformative justice is especially apt for conflict resolution. Its goal isn’t to inflict punishment on those who’ve caused harm, but rather to foster a mindset of growth. Through accountability, those who’ve caused harm can grow to avoid causing harm in the future.
This approach also recognizes that hurt people hurt people. Often, those who’ve caused harm have been harmed and have yet to fully heal. Transformative justice provides space, asking these individuals to identify moments where their boundaries have been crossed or where words have hurt them, for instance, and to analyze the ways in which these moments have affected their subsequent behavior.
Ultimately, transformative justice uses reparative, restorative practices to change systems from the inside out instead of the outside in.
If you’re a survivor of sexual assault and looking for immediate support, please call (800) 656-HOPE (4673). This helpline is operated 24/7.