The first step then is to rigorously take account of the harms inflicted. That can be extremely difficult. Even where the historic record is unambiguous and agreed upon, there is rarely the data available to accurately assess the harms people have suffered.
To compound the issue, some harms are so difficult to assess for in the first place – for example, the emotional distress experienced by descendants – or so widespread – such as the pervasive legacy of racism in society – as to be uncountable. In the absence of data-based estimates, there is greater scope for subjectivity to sway the debate and hinder attempts to arrive at acceptable compensation.