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A Restorative Justice Response to Interpersonal Violence

Snyman, Rika
June 4, 2015

Source: (2001) In, Brian Williams (ed.), Reparation And Victim-Focused Social Work (pp 34-44). London, UK: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Restorative justice redirects the focus of the entire criminal justice system and inspires an innovative approach to addressing interpersonal violence. This implies a restorative stance towards both offender and victim and a partnership approach in its prevention. The criminal justice system has limited potential to transform society and curtail individual behaviour. With regard to addressing interpersonal violence, there are some serious questions about the extent to which the criminal justice system can realistically carry the major burden of reform. If the approach is taken that the causes of crime need to be the focus of prevention programmes, then it is imperative that a restorative justice approach is needed when addressing the less serious crimes that eventually lead to serious crimes like social fabric crimes. Murder, rape, assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and indecent assault are regarded as social fabric crimes because they attach the moral fibre of the society in which they are committed. South Africa has one of the highest levels of violence in the world and the Northern Cape, one of the nine provinces in the country, ranks per 100,000 of the population, first amongst the provinces in the incidence of rape and serious assault and fourth in murder.


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