Source: (2008) The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology. 41(1):109-137.
Drawing on the South Australia Juvenile Justice (SAJJ) project dataset, this article analyses youth peer violence (‘punch-ups’) with a focus on girl-on-girl assaults. My aim is to address and explain significant gaps in the empirical knowledge of gender and restorative justice, and in the aspirations and reality of restorative justice itself. Four points are made. First, of all the offence categories, the male and female punch-ups showed the least degree of offender remorse, positive movement between offender and victim, and victim satisfaction; and they showed the greatest degree of victim revictimisation and more negative outcomes of the conference process. This occurs because offenders may ‘admit’ to offending, but deny that their actions are wrong. Second, simple gender comparisons of offender and victim orientations in a restorative process are likely to produce misleading resuls, unless they are keyed to particular offense categories. Third, for girls’ punch-ups, the status of ‘victim’ and ‘offender’ is contested with both protagonists seeing themselves as ‘victims’ (or as ‘nonoffenders’). Fourth, although some offending girls say their violence is justified, their female victims are hurt and traumatised, some with significant long-term effects. Implications are drawn or the feminist analyses of girls’ violence and for ethical practices of restorative justice. (abstract)
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