Violence is Not Conflict: Why it Matters in Restorative Justice Practice


  • Alan Edwards Restorative justice practitioner, mediator, and instructor based in Edmonton, Alberta.
  • Jennifer Haslett BA (Alberta).



The rapid growth of restorative justice programs calls for greater self-reflection and a higher standard of practice in the restorative justice field.  This article addresses the distinction between violence and conflict, and the significant implications of this difference, in the restorative justice process.  It offers insight into violence and victimization and sets out a number of approaches beneficial to helping solidify these important distinctions and in linking explanations to practice.  Failure to understand violence and conflict as distinct concepts may potentially leave people and communities at risk of further harm.

Author Biographies

Alan Edwards, Restorative justice practitioner, mediator, and instructor based in Edmonton, Alberta.

Since 1997, Alan has maintained an active private practice in workplace mediation alongside his work in restorative justice, which focuses almost exclusively on cases involving violence.  Starting in 2004, he has been co-facilitating with Jennifer Haslett cases in Canada's prairie provinces that involve serious and violent crime.  He has delivered workshops and training in restorative justice throughout Canada and the United States.  He is co-author of four papers about restorative justice and violence.

Jennifer Haslett, BA (Alberta).

Jennifer has been a practitioner and consultant in the fields of restorative justice and conflict resolution since 1996.  She has been a restorative justice facilitator with the Restorative Opportunities Program of the Correctional Service of Canada since 2004.  Prior to that, she coordinated a victim-offender mediation program for six years.  She has co-instructed the Critical Issues in Restorative Justice course at the University of Alberta, and has been an active member of a national restorative justice steering committee for five years.