Source: (2006) Position Paper. Master of Arts degree in Social Policy Studies. State University of New York, Empire State College.

The restorative justice movement has continued to grow and develop in this and other countries. Proponents of this informal justice system believe that the time has come to expand the use of restorative justice into arenas where it has rarely been used, such as in cases of domestic violence and sexual assault. Studies like those conducted in Australia and New Zealand have produced positive results in working with a primarily juvenile population, and in light of these successes, there is a growing enthusiasm about its potential in more challenging situations. Occurring simultaneously with the growing popularity of restorative justice is the awareness of and response to domestic violence. Springing from the powerful women’s movement in the 1970s, this country has managed to bring the issue of domestic violence out of the shadows of the private sphere and launch it into a highly public light. Scholars, practitioners, legal professionals and others are more aware than ever of the complexity and lethality the crime of domestic violence embodies. As we learn more about the unique nature of domestic violence and the fragile world of an intimate partner victim, we must take precaution in considering our responses to these crimes. The controversy over whether restorative justice should be applied to cases of domestic violence has divided even mutual proponents of this justice system. The question remains then, is restorative justice a promising new direction or a dangerous practice. (author’s abstract).