Source: (2005) Violence Against Women, Vol.11 No.5

Searching for ways to expand options for women who are abused and increase accountability for men who are abusive, a number of feminists have been exploring restorative justice. At their best, the variety of informal conflict-mediation practices now loosely grouped under the rubric of “restorative justice” can be seen as ways of doing community organizing around criminal victimization and other kinds of harm. In theory, these practices seek to decrease the role of the state in responding to crime and increase the involvement of personal, familial, and neighborhood networks in repairing the harm that crime causes. As practiced in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the United States, restorative justice is most commonly applied to crimes by young people, largely property crimes. Restorative practices are not recommended and are even disallowed in many jurisdictions for cases of rape and domestic violence. Nonetheless, there is increasing use of these practices to address crimes of violence against women. Feminists have been examining the dangers and potential benefits of applying restorative justice practices to crimes of battering, rape, and child sexual abuse, raising important challenges for feminist community organizing and for restorative justice. (excerpt)