Source: (2002) In Restorative justice and family violence, ed. Heather Strang and John Braithwaite, 108-127. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Pennell and Burford state that family group conferencing can stop family violence and child maltreatment. From a study they made in Canada, the chief issue is not whether it can work but how to make it work so that all family members are safeguarded. Hence, in this chapter the authors emphasize that family group conferencing needs to build partnerships that respect the privacy of families while promoting women’s leadership and ensuring protective intervention. Before detailing their case, Pennell and Burford point to influences on their approach to family group conferencing, particularly feminist perspectives. Then they review positive outcomes from the Family Group Decision Making Project in eastern Canada. This leads to extended discussion of the role of feminist praxis in family group conferencing. They define feminist praxis, survey recent developments in Canada and the United States in stopping family violence, and then apply all of this to designing and implementing a family group conferencing program.