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Australian Study Assesses the Strengths of Restorative Justice for Crime Victims

Immarigeon, Russ
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) Crime Victims Report. 7(3): 35-36, to 44

The author begins by reviewing the historical context of the contemporary restorative justice movement. It is asserted that although the ideological underpinnings of restorative justice call for a balanced approach toward victims and offenders, most restorative interventions are inadequate and result in an imbalance of services. The approach to victim-offender relationships in restorative models remains largely undefined and ambiguous. The author then goes on to discuss Heather Strang’s 2002 study of restorative justice interventions, which focused especially on victim-oriented expectations and outcomes. Data for the study were drawn from the Reintegrative Shaming Experiments (RISE), and supplemented by interviews and correspondences with crime victims and crime victim advocates. The study brings to light the fact that victims of crime express the basic complaint that there is no focus within the justice system on the reparation of harm. Furthermore, victims also report that there is a persistent neglect of the nonmaterial aspect of victimization that includes psychological and emotional consequences. The study goes on to examine how restorative justice practices struggle between a focus on support services versus victim rights services. Findings from the study indicate that victims of crime who experience a restorative justice approach versus those who receive a traditional criminal justice approach are more satisfied with the outcome of their cases and feel more at peace both with the process and with their offender. The flexibility of the restorative justice approach is described as one of its main attributes, allowing it to accommodate real-life situations more easily than the traditional criminal justice model, which is viewed as more rigid and rule-bound. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service,


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