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My work is in Restorative Practices and so I feel I should have the answer to this already! But I'd love to hear from others how they feel when formal processes like community conferencing are described as conflict tools.  For me, to suggest that, for example, a mugging incident is a conflict seems offensive to the person harmed in the event. Conflict suggests that all stakeholders in a wrongdoing have some responsibility for what happened, and though I don't disagree this may be the case on a large scale, it still seems to be a potentially harmful term.

In addition, where I have seen community conferencing used where there is harm on both sides - a true conflict - it seems not to have been so successful. My own view is that a mediation or a restorative circle might be more appropriate.

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There does seem to be a distinction between "wrongdoing" and "conflict" as you have described and experienced them. Perhaps Restorative Practices are considered "conflict tools" because they diffuse or resolve the inequity that has resulted from the wrongdoings.  The action of the perpetrator has disrupted the "norm" of the victim which I imagine could escalate into any one of the following definitions of conflict (as I wondered how it was officially defined):

Hopefully RJ would nip the festering or the retaliative inclinations in the bud before blossoming into a full conflict.


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