Making meaningful, effective, respectful apologies is an important component of many restorative justice practices. Insincere apologies, on the other hand, can cause additional harm. To help lead students in the practice of making effective apologies, you can encourage the following elements, as adapted from the University of San Diego’s Center for Restorative Justice…

What Happened. Describe what happened, in your own words. This shows that you understand the harmful impact of your behavior.

Your Role. Acknowledge the part you played. This includes avoiding expressions that deny, displace or minimize your responsibility and being accountable.

How You Feel. Express regret or remorse regarding the harm you caused.

What You’ll Stop Doing. Make a specific commitment to what you’ll stop doing to not cause further harm.

What You’ll Start Doing. Make a specific commitment to what you’ll start doing differently to repair the harm you caused.

Source: University of San Diego Center for Restorative Justice via Student Rights & Responsibilities, Division for Student Affairs, George Washington University

Find more information like this that members of your campus community can put in action within our NEW Implementing Campus Restorative Justice Practices digital strategy guide.