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Blame, Shame and Community: Justice Responses to Violence Against Women

Koss, Mary
June 4, 2015

Source: (2000) American Psychologist. 55(11): 1332-1343. Restore Program. The Mel and Enid Zuckerman Arizona College of Public Health. Downloaded 15 October 2003.

Justice Processing for crime against women is reviewed. The data reveal conviction rates for partner violence and rape by known acquaintances are miniscule; mandatory arrest, protection orders, and diversion programs inadequately deter rebattering ; few losses are compensated; and the adversarial justice process is retraumatizing, exacerbating survivors’ self-blame. To better address crimes against women, several nations and tribal communities use communitarian approaches, forms of restorative justice. The offense is framed to include the perpetrator, victim, and community. The process forgoes incarceration to have family, peers, and advocates design perpetrator rehabilitation, victim restoration, and social reintegration of both victims and perpetrators. Evaluations suggest communitarian justice may increase victim satisfaction, raises the social costs of offending, multiply social control and support resources, and open a new avenue to targeted prevention.


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