Jean Chrysostome Kiyala Kimbuku
Violence in the educational environment is widespread. in the World Report on Violence against Children initiated by the United Nations Secretary-General, four major forms of violence were identified – physical and psychological punishment, bullying, sexual and gender-based violence and external violence (gangs, weapons and fighting). Violence on university campuses is mainly directed at female students in the form of sexual assault, date-rape and stalking.
Educational institutions have largely adopted either a punitive approach (sanctions and expulsions) or the referral of offenders to the criminal justice system which seem to have limited deterrent effects.
This paper looks into two alternative approaches:
- Educating the students and staff of educational institutions in nonviolent conflict resolution
- The use of restorative justice mechanisms as a way of building or re-building – also known as transforming – the relationships between victims and offenders
I will argue with evidence that restorative justice mechanisms have the potentials to curb the cycle of violence and make educational institutions a safe environment for all. One of the objectives or restorative justice is “reducing [repeat anti-social behaviour] by encouraging change in individual offenders and facilitating their reintegration into the community”.