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Intimate partner violence: Towards a sociological understanding

August 2, 2009

Furthermore the adversarial
system does not make provision for reconciliation or a means to resolve
conflicts. It does not attempt to deal with the root causes of intimate
partner violence and is therefore only a short term solution. The
Domestic Violence Act is often used as one of the founding steps in a
separation and divorce process. There are no provisions for
reconciliation if the parties decide to follow this route. Therefore
the Domestic Violence Act could in fact escalate conflict within the
family and could in fact become a foundation for further violence
within the relationship, due to its principle of separation.

question therefore arises: “Is there any other means that the conflict
can be resolved and reconciliation achieved, if both the perpetrator
and the victim decide that their love for each other is based upon a
commitment to each other, a distinct friendship and a shared passion
for each other?” The answer to this question lies within the
possibility of using a restorative justice intervention.

Restorative Justice.

restorative justice intervention differs from the current criminal
justice system essentially in that it attempts to reconcile parties,
rather than dividing through constructing them as adversaries.
Therefore conflict is resolved through both parties working together
collaboratively in bringing about joint decisions in a mediated manner.
Should the decision be to separate, this joint decision is mediated and
negotiated within the process. Therefore reconciliation is not the
primary or predetermined objective of restorative justice
interventions. This paper argues that restorative justice interventions
can change the system of intimate partner violence.

primary intervention used within the intimate partner violence setting
is termed victim offender conferencing (VOC). Here the perpetrator or
abuser, the victim or the abused and a mediator come together after a
preparatory phase to discuss the incident. The VOC intervention is
based on three principles; namely recognising injustice, restoring
equity and addressing future intentions (Claasen 1996).

Read the whole entry.


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