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Trauma and Restorative Justice

January 12, 2010

Paying attention to the needs of victims of crime, as well as of
natural disasters and other traumatic situations, is therefore critical
in order to reduce cycles of violence.  Unfortunately, the needs of
victims are often overlooked in traditional criminal justice approaches
to crime.  We focus on identifying the perpetrator, prosecuting him or
her, and punishment.  Rarely are the needs of victims considered
through this process.  Prosecutors represent the state, not victims. 
Victims are often invited to court just to provide their testimony, not
to offer input about how they would like to resolve the situation, or
to express how the state could best meet their needs. For more
information, check out:  Link to Video of STAR model re Trauma

…How would our criminal justice system be different if we prioritized the needs of victims?  Restorative
justice approaches do just that – the opinion, needs, and desires of
victims are the driving force behind how a particular harm is
addressed.  As part of Mexico’s changing criminal justice system,
victim’s needs are being considered.  In many cases, victim’s rights
are being incorporated into the Penal Code and Procedures in a more
inclusive way than in California, for example.

Read the full blog post.


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