Source: (2009) Social Work. 54(2):107-117.
This article provides an overview of restorative justice as a process and examines its relevance to women who have been victimized by physical and sexual abuse. The starting point is the justice system with its roots in adversarial, offender-oriented practices of obtaining justice. The widespread dissatisfaction by battered women and rape victims and their advocates with the current system of mandatory law enforcement opens the door for consideration of alternative forms of dealing with domestic violence. Restorative justice strategies, as argued here, have several major advantages. Like social work, these strategies are solution-based rather than problem-based processes, give voice to marginalized people, and focus on healing and reconciliation. Moreover, restorative justice offers an avenue through which the profession of social work can re-establish its historic role in criminal justice. The four models most relevant to women’s victimization are victim-offender conferencing, family group conferencing, healing circles, and community reparations. Each model is examined separately from a feminist standpoint. The discussion is informed by insights from the teachings of standpoint feminist theory and social work values, especially social justice. (author’s abstract)
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