Source: (2005) Ph.D. dissertation, Political Science, University of Pennsylvania.This dissertation investigates which of four legal/alternative dispute resolution institutions (formal courts, indigenous traditional dispute resolution structures, Lok Adalat, and non-governmental organization sponsored dispute resolution structures) best empower women in South Asia who experience domestic violence. The dissertation explores the extent of procedural power or the direct participation of female victims in procedures of justice processes; distributive power which is the restitution or protection of women through the results of justice processes; and compliance power or the desistence of defendants in each case from further crimes against female victims and the realization of conference resolutions and/or court verdicts. Based on victims’ interviews and interviews with other related authorities, this dissertation concludes that empowerment must be considered on both an institutional level (how an institution is designed) and leadership of the institution (who leads and influences decisions). Finally, this dissertation argues for a culturally sensitive and viable restorative justice model with female facilitators and attendees to ensure justice and satisfaction from a victim’s perspective. Author’s abstract.