Public trust in governments and their institutions has been declining globally. Educational, justice and public services do not exist in a vacuum. They are developed and function within the societies that they are meant to serve. If they are structured within disempowering governments and democracies, then their users’ experience will be one of disappointment.
This decline in public trust is also very much linked with our perceptions and experiences of equality (or inequality). And we do not need scientific evidence to conclude that the justice system and educational systems have flaws. We have been experiencing these flaws for many decades through their performance, overt or hidden biases, costs and the feeling of safety and justice that they are meant to generate for everyone independently of their background.
Despite the latest economic downturn, the powerful became more powerful, and the powerless increased in numbers. For example, the 2017 Global Wealth Report showed that the wealth of the richest increased from 42.5% at the height of the 2008 financial crisis to 50.1% in 2017. On the other hand, the poor became poorer, with the world’s 3.5 billion poorest adults having assets of less than $10,000. Collectively these people, who account for 70% of the world’s working age population, own just 2.7% of global wealth. Shockingly, the globe’s richest 1% owns over 50% of world’s wealth .
Concurrently with the decline in public trust and justice performance globally, there has been a rise of community voice and action. In a globalised world where the internet, social media and borderless continents define how we send and receive information, the notion of community had to redefine itself. It is no longer a place – it is a sense of belonging. But alas, the modern notion of community often lacks the resources to challenge the powerful and the status quo.
Restorative Justice for All was created to respond to this challenge as well as the fears, anxieties and bad experiences of communities and the powerless of our structured and top down offered justice and educational options.