Source: (2002) In Restorative justice and family violence, ed. Heather Strang and John Braithwaite, 62-88. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kathleen Daly looks at the question whether restorative justice is appropriate in cases of sexual violence. She cautions at the outset of her essay that the problem of responding justly to such cases- refraining from punitive responses that further brutalize perpetrators without appearing to accept their violent behavior - is ultimately unsolvable. Yet, because sexual assaults occur, Daly pursues the problem in terms of its two components: how to treat harms as serious without harsh forms of punishment or hyper-criminalization? and how to do justice in an unequal society? She contends there may be a way forward in addressing the problem of responding justly if three things are done, which she explores in this essay: (1) rehabilitate "retribution" and make it part of restorative justice processes; (2) redefine the harm of rape, other forms of gendered harms, and violence more generally; and (3) recognize the variety of meanings and contexts of sexual violence, domestic violence, and family violence. To illustrate her points, she discusses a number of cases of sexual assault in South Australia disposed of by conferencing.


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