Source: (2001) Prepared for the Aboriginal Women’s Action Network In Their Aboriginal Women, Violence and the Law Participatory Action Research Project. Law Commission Of Canada. Downloaded 11 November 2003.

This paper is intended as a comparative overview of five Aboriginal communities in British Columbia and the possible implications of initiating Restorative Justice reforms in cases of violence against women and children in these communities. This document examines the ways in which Aboriginal women’s experience of colonization is mediated by gender and attempts to locate the effects of violence against women and children within this trajectory. As Aboriginal women it is our belief that our voices must be considered before any discussion of restorative justice and diversion of K files (files on violent offences against women and children) takes place. This paper will provide a look at the conditions of women’s lives within community, and provide a frame of reference and context should these reforms become more commonly used in cases of violence against women and children. Restorative justice as it is used for violent offenses should not be theoretical abstracted ideas that are formed in a vacuum by government officials, romanticized and removed from the context of our lives as Aboriginal people. These reforms can and do have a profound impact on women and children’s safety particularly in communities that are geographically and socially isolated. This paper attempts to articulate our numerous concerns, taking both women’s voices and current theory around restorative justice such as John Braithwait’s ideas on reintegrative shaming1 into consideration. A study group has been planned to look at a broad cross section of the many readings on Alternative dispute resolution to help with the writing up of our research. (excerpt)

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