Back to RJ Archive

Restorative justice and the active victim: exploring the concept of empowerment.

Aertsen, Ivo
June 4, 2015

Source: (2011) Temida. 14(1):5-19.

This paper departs from the observation that the victim image leading public discourse has transformed in recent years: increasingly victims reject the traditional victim label implying helplessness and dependency to adopt the image of the emancipated victim that wishes to participate in the criminal proceedings. Restorative justice at first sight provides an answer to these emancipated victims’ wishes, offering them participation in criminal proceedings. Yet, using the concept of empowerment as an example and the community psychology perspective as a theoretical reference, our analysis suggests that restorative justice uses a restricted definition of empowerment: it reduces empowerment to developing self-confidence and new understandings of the offence, neglecting the behavioural component of empowerment. This characteristic of restorative justice seems to deny victims’ capacities to promote social change and inhibit them from reaching true empowerment. (authors’ Abstract)


AbstractBlog Post
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