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Balance in the response to family violence: challenging restorative principles

Bazemore, Gordon
June 4, 2015

Source: (2002) In Restorative justice and family violence, ed. Heather Strang and John Braithwaite, 153-177. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bazemore and Earle state that restorative justice principles and processes per se are not problematic in response to violence, even among close acquaintances. Nevertheless, power imbalances in the family context may present considerable challenges for restorative resolutions. With this in mind, they point to the concept of balance, which they see as implicit in restorative justice but not often developed enough explicitly. They emphasize balance – that is, balancing potentially competing restorative objectives in family violence situations – as a guide in developing standards and dimensions for determining the consistency of family violence interventions with restorative principles. In this regard, Bazemore and Earle discuss three types of balance to consider in responding to family violence. In their view, achieving balance in a restorative approach stems from a decision-making structure rooted in a consensus-based integration of mutual interests. Therefore, they also call for articulation of a core theory of the restorative justice process based on such a structure and for development of research protocol for measuring restorative justice interventions.


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