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Restorative Mediation: The Application of Restorative Justice Practice and Philosophy to Clergy Sexual Abuse Cases.

Noll, Douglas E
June 4, 2015

Source: (2008) Journal of Child Sexual Abuse. 17(3/4):377-396.

This article presents a restorative justice model and examines how the restorative justice philosophy and process can be applied to clergy-perpetrated sexual abuse (CPSA).Results indicate that the power of restorative justice through the use of restorative mediation can aid the healing journey of victim-survivors, the church, offenders, and the larger community. While the process requires some initial vulnerability by all participants, the outcomes are generally superior to those provided in the criminal, civil, or canonical legal systems of justice. Restorative mediation is not appropriate to determine the validity of an allegation. Likewise, the process is strictly voluntary and is not appropriate if there is any hint of coercion imposed on any person. Restorative mediation is not a shield to disclosure and is therefore inappropriate to keep the abuse a secret. Finally, restorative mediation is not appropriate if any part lacks a sincere desire to make things right, or if there is doubt that the parties will carry out their agreements. If the church wishes to retain its power and control over the process, restorative mediation will not work. Regardless of whether a case ends in restorative mediation or not, the preparation can bring clarity to the victim or the offender/church representatives as to their options and choices for dealing with the claims. In many instances, the parties are empowered to make decisions and take control of their situation. (abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, www,


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