Importance of Psychological Safety at IRP
I’d like to talk to y’all more about the subject of psychological safety and its importance here in our community space. For those who don’t know what psychological safety is, it is a SHARED belief in a group that a given environment is safe for people to take interpersonal risks and make mistakes without incurring personal loss or punishment. Shared, meaning that we are in the collective agreement and a GIVEN environment or space is safe for people to screw up, learn and do better without personal damage.
Other Articles for further reading:
Adoption of Restorative Justice Practices at IRP
During the "unlearn" I had a lot of sticking points I had to work out with restorative justice. So I'm happy to share the myths I had to bust to get onboard.
Restorative Justice isn't "soft." At first, that was my big sticker. It "felt" like in order to do this we were asking for "less punishment" or reprecussions for the offender, which in my line of work meant that racists and toxic leaders would "get off easy." I had to sit in on some community circles where they worked out the accountability needs of the offender and no---this isn't soft. What was refreshing was the care involved to remember both the victim and offender are human beings and focusing on the needs of the victim who holds ALL their agency. This was another sticker for me, but throughout the whole process, the victim got to decide how much they wanted to be involved in the process, if they even wanted to open a dialogue with the offender, and what they believed would support them as they healed.
Learning from how school systems are adopting this practice has inspired me to look at the Inclusive Romance Project as an opportunity as well to integrate this behavior into our organization.
This ties so close to psychological safety, it ain't even funny, but of course for this to have a chance requires base-level mental safety for the community, the victims and offenders to have willingness to restore the relationships and the respect in order to progress further.
I've realized that the fear of "making a mistake" or "getting it wrong" is a valid fear in a society that seeks to strip away the humanity of both the victim and the offender, without any opportunity to help the community heal nor allow the offender a transformative path to be welcomed back into the community.