Back to RJ Archive

Justice Is in the Design: Creating a Restorative Justice Treatment Model for Domestic Violence

Grauwiler, Peggy
June 4, 2015

Source: (2007) In John Hamel and Tonia L. Nicholls, Ed., Family Interventions in Domestic Violence. New York, USA: Springer Publishing Company. Pp. 579-599.

“The battered women’s movement was the first group to bring public attention to the prevalence of intimate abuse in American homes. Early on this movement developed an educational approach, specifically tailored to male perpetrators who were victimizing female partners, that strove to change patriarchal attitudes and beliefs, which they held to be the root cause of violence against women. While these educational approaches addressed heterosexual male perpetrators of intimate abuse, they overlooked entirely the prevalence and dynamics of abuse in same-sex relationships or by heterosexual female perpetrators. This resulted in a political ideology that has subsequently influenced major federal legislation while blocking experimentation with any treatments for intimate abuse that brought together the victim and the offender, such as couples counseling and restorative justice-based interventions. Generally, it was believed that because of the perceived power imbalance, female victims could not safely participate in any treatment with their abusive partner. This chapter reviews the arguments for and against using restorative justice in intimate abuse cases and outlines how important issues like safety may be enfolded into restorative treatment models. To properly place restorative approaches in context, we briefly review the history of and research on intimate abuse treatment, particularly batterer intervention programs, as well as the existing literature on the use of restorative justice in family violence cases. Finally, we discuss the development of a new restorative treatment now being tested in Nogales, Arizona, that has taken the lessons learned from batterer interventions and restorative justice approaches in family violence to provide a safe, flexible, and egalitarian treatment program for couples and families affected by intimate abuse.” (excerpt)


AbstractCourtsDomestic ViolenceFamiliesPolicePolicyRJ OfficeStatutes and LegislationTeachers and Students
Support the cause

We've Been Restoring Justice for More Than 40 Years

Your donation helps Prison Fellowship International repair the harm caused by crime by emphasizing accountability, forgiveness, and making amends for prisoners and those affected by their actions. When victims, offenders, and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results are transformational.

Donate Now