Restorative Circles a Safe Space for Refugees and Asylum-Seekers

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Maira Reis Silva Seippel
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This dissertation was completed as part of the Independent College Dublin's MA in Dispute Resolution program (ICD). One of the primary goals of restorative practices is to build a healthy community that is powerful and strong in conflict resolution practices in a peaceful and integrated way . Restorative Circles stand out among restorative practices for their versatility and ability to provide a safe space for speech, where the communication process is facilitated and where the people involved can build or rebuild a new social reality together. They have been used in modern society to assist vulnerable communities affected by violence to peacefully resolve conflict. Refugees and asylum-seekers are among the world's most vulnerable groups, owing to violations of human rights and the factors that force them to flee their homelands. Given the vulnerability of this population and the flexibility of restorative circles, this research aims to assess the use of restorative circles to assist refugees in coping with conflict and trauma, and with social integration in their new community. This research was based on voluntary interviews with two asylum-seekers and three refugees in Ireland. The interview covered topics such as the Direct Provision experience, social integration in Ireland, and the challenges and tensions this community faces. In addition, restorative circles are evaluated to see if they can provide a secure place for this group to talk and settle disputes. The findings revealed that this community would value having a safe space such as a restorative circle to express themselves, and more safe spaces for cultural exchange and social integration. It is therefore, believed that developing and combining the use of restorative methods, such as restorative circles, within this population and the wider community is critical
Seippel, 2021