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Restorative justice and the pre-conditions for grace: Taking victim’s needs seriously.

Waldman, Ellen A
June 4, 2015

Source: (2007) Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution. 9(1): 91-108.

Victim-offender encounters, truth-telling, and moves toward apology and reconciliation are appealing in the abstract;
but data suggests that victims whose distress levels remain high and who continue to suffer the psychological fallout of
intense trauma may be unable to benefit from such interactions. … Respondents with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
(PTSD) and those whose economic situation had worsened since 1994 were less likely to have positive attitudes toward
Inkiko Gacaca and were less likely to believe in community, ethnic interdependence, and nonviolence. … Restorative
justice theorists assume that victims of crime are perched at the highest point of Maslow’s hierarchy. … The SAJJ project
collected conferencing data in two waves; the first in 1998 and the other – consisting of follow-up interviews with
victims and offenders from the previous study – in 1999. … Higher percentages of high-distress victims populated the
“low” conferences (seventy-two percent), and lower percentages of high-distress victims populated the “high” conferences.
… In assessing the divergent ways in which high and low distress victims experienced their conference interaction,
the SAJJ researchers concluded that the “victims who are ‘lightly touched’ by a crime orient themselves more readily
to the ideal RJ script.” (Author’s abstract)


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