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Domestic Violence

Domestic violence presents unique challenges and opportunities to restorative justice practitioners. On one hand, the restorative process of taking responsibility, addressing past harm and planning for a better future can look very much like domestic violence syndrome. On the other, restorative responses can offer alternatives to a victim who has kept silence out of fear that the abuser will be arrested and the family's means of support ended. These articles address this important area.

José Deym on Nicaraguan Women May Have to Negotiate with their Abusers
When someone says or writes “the law should establish mechanisms for mediation between victims and assailants as an alternative form of conflict resolution, in cases [...]
Nicaraguan Women May Have to Negotiate with their Abusers
From the article from the Inter Press Service news Agency: Conservative sectors in Nicaragua have launched an offensive against the Comprehensive Law Against Violence Toward Women, seeking amendments including an obligation for women victims to negotiate with their abusers, human rights groups reported.
Mai Iverson on The problem with restorative justice
I am so sorry that your experience was so horrific. RJ can be a place for accountability and healing to take place and we are [...]
Kristin Froehlich on The problem with restorative justice
You're right. It sounds like a cookie cutter formula was used rather than identifying the real needs of the parties involved and the community.
The problem with restorative justice
from the entry on Kwe Today: ....What I would like to write about is what I considered a major fundamental flaw of restorative justice. In particular, this type of justice is credited for being closely related to Aboriginal justice and sometimes the two are considered one in the same (which is one of the first problems).
katherine van Wormer on Restorative justice & violence against women
I addressed the issue in Restorative Justice as Social Justice for Victims: A Standpoint Feminist Perspective. Social Work, 54 (2), 2009, 107-117. Also in our [...]
Restorative justice & violence against women
from the entry by Deb and Tina on the BCSTH Library blog: One of our BCSTH members asked me to do some research on restorative justice and its role in cases of violence against women. Here is a summary of my research process.
Restorative Justice is not only mediation
I read the title and I thought it was going to be about RJ, but as usually it only speaks about mediation, and it is [...]
Violence against women: restorative justice solutions in international perspective.
Author: Fernando Vázquez-Portomeñe Seijas In Austria and Germany specialized intervention programmes have adapted the classic principles of penal mediation in order to work with domestic violence cases. This adaptation means introducing changes in several aspects: the duration of the sessions and intervention times, the support of both parts at the moment of presenting their interests, the incorporation of result controls and of the indirect (shuttle) mediation, the incorporation of probation periods and of balance dialogs… In this article will be presented some aspects of the practical execution of the programs: those related to the proceedings orientated to correct the power imbalances and reinforce the position of the disadvantaged part (empowerment strategies), particularly the incorporation of two mediators (a man and a woman) and the coordination with the institutions and agencies that can offer the “resources” that are necessary to reinforce the social links of the victim inside the community. (author abstract)
Violence against women: restorative justice solutions in international perspective.
from the paper by Fernando Vázquez-Portomeñe Seijas: Cases of isolated and slight aggressions suffered by victims with enough social and personal resources (who have denounced the facts or taken other decisions to finish with the situation of violence) are suitable for mediation. The resource to mediation should be excluded, on the other hand, in cases with incidence of chronic or long-term violence and domination. The aggressor will possess such influence and power that the probabilities of reaching a completely voluntary agreement and that this agreement considers the interests of both parts will be scanty.
4 tips for restorative justice programs, skills with victims and addressing domestic violence
from the entry by Kris Miner on Restorative Justice and Circles: ....I’ve been working with Restorative Justice for 14 years, full-time the past 6, going on 7 years. I read all I can find, I am passionate about using a holistic response to people, finding the strengths and power for transformation and healing in Restorative Justice. These 4 tips come from experience and education.
Circulos de Paz and the promise of peace: Restorative justice meets intimate violence
from the article by Linda G. Mills, Mary Helen Maley and Yael Shy in New York University Review of Law and Social Change: Circles of Peace/Circulos de Paz was founded in Nogales, Arizona in 2004 to address these myriad problems with both the criminal justice response to intimate violence and Batterer Intervention Programs. Circles of Peace is the first court-referred domestic violence treatment program to use a restorative justice circle approach to reduce violent behavior in families in the United States. The program consists of twenty-six to fifty-two weeks of conferences, or "Circles," bringing partners who have been abusive (the "applicants") together with willing family members (including those who have been abused, the "participants"), support people, a trained professional facilitator, and community volunteers. The goal is to encourage dialogue about the incident, the history of violence in this family, and meaningful change.
Is restorative justice suited for gender-based violence?
from Sylvia Clute's article on Genuine Justice: Feminists have long decried the deficiencies in the traditional criminal law system when it comes to gender-based violence. The criminal law system fails victims, offenders and the community; there are no winners. Most cases are never reported, and the reported cases have a high attrition rate. Few cases are actually prosecuted. According to Melanie Randall, a law professor with expertise in legal remedies for gender violence, the needs of the victim are diametrically opposed to the needs of the criminal law system. That system is driven by complex rules; it challenges the victim’s credibility; she has no control; she must tell the state’s story instead of a coherent narrative around what happened to her. There is no protection against recall, and there is no safe face to face confrontation.
Relations of domination and subordination: Challenges for restorative justice in responding to domestic violence
from the paper by Julie Stubbs: Barbara Hudson is cautious in her approach to RJ: she summarises the appeal of RJ in ‘the openness of story telling and exploration of possibilities for constructive and creative responses to offences’. In the context of domestic violence she suggests that RJ offers the victim ‘the opportunity to choose how to present herself… [to express] her feelings, her understanding of events, her wishes and demands for the future’. However, Hudson recognises that the discursiveness of RJ is not without problems such as the risk of domination and the reproduction of power relations and she emphasizes the need for ‘strong procedural safeguards’.
On the efficacy of victim-offender-mediation in cases of partnership violence in Austria, or: Men don’t get better, but women get stronger: Is it still true? Outcomes of an empirical study
from the study by Christa Pelikan: Put in a nutshell, the core finding of this study reads thus: The efficacy of VOM in cases partnership violence is to a large part due to the empowerment of the women victims, but partly, albeit to a smaller percentage, also due to an inner change, to insight and following from that a change of behaviour on the side of the male perpetrators. These achievements cannot be understood except as part of a comprehensive societal change – a change of collective mentalities, or in other words: change of expectations1 regarding the use of violence in intimate partnerships.
Domestic Violence Surrogate Dialogue
from their website: Our Mission: The Domestic Violence Surrogate Dialogue (DVSD) program is designed to arrange an appropriate setting and environment whereby domestic violence victims and offenders may meet and engage in a conversation intended to lead to a form of restorative justice. A goal of the session is to generate understanding between the victim and offender as to each other's views and attitudes, as well as focus on the many consequences of domestic violence. I deally, the dialogue will be a catalyst for the victim to begin the release of feelings that will allow her to abandon her anger and initiate a healing process. She will also be able to ask probing questions of an offender that she would never have been able to ask her own abuser for fear of retribution. At the same time, the interactive conversation with the survivor may motivate the offender to seek and find redemption. The offender would recognize that the victim is a person who has been harmed, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. The program also provides the offender an opportunity to help a victim of the same crime he had committed. By revealing his own insight, motivations and manipulations, the offender can enable the victim to discover how to identify and avoid violent behavior in future relationships. For both surrogates, these outcomes would represent a dramatic breakthrough.
Why is it important for people of faith to be involved in domestic violence work?
from the Renewal House blog entry: A reporter from the Boston Herald asked me that question yesterday afternoon. The reporter is working on an article highlighting the Restorer’s Ministry, a new hotline led by three women from the Grace of All Nations Church in Dorchester. We have been supporting the training needs of the three as they seek to live out their call to serving individuals and families struggling with issues of domestic violence in their community.
Intimate partner violence: Towards a sociological understanding
from Richard Record's entry on Sociological Dialogues: Finally the Domestic Violence Act as an intervention by the criminal justice system is based on an adversarial system, where victims often have to defend themselves within the court setting, since perpetrators have the opportunity to make representations and place the victims under cross examination. The credibility of victims can therefore be broken down. Therefore there is the possibility that the woman who might need the protection order the most, will not get one granted due to her credibility being brought into question.
Federal Probation publishes paper on “Pono Kaulike: Restorative Justice and Solution-Focused Approaches to Domestic Violence in Hawaii”
From the Restorative Practices E-Forum for 28 July: The Pono Kaulike program provided facilitated restorative justice processes combined with solution-focused brief therapy with subjects who plead guilty to crimes including assault, harassment, criminal property damage, criminal trespass, terroristic threatening and negligent homicide.
Millbank, Sue and Michael Riches and Prior, Bill. "Reducing repeat victimisation of domestic violence: The NDV Project."
The NDV Project is a partnership between the crime prevention police unit in South Australia and locally based service providers. The aim is to prevent domestic violence, especially repetition of domestic violence. The authors of this paper explain the theoretical perspectives behind the project, the aims of the project, and the project model. Issues and problems encountered in the project are discussed, as are early findings of the project’s results. It is noted that a comprehensive evaluation of the NDV Project has been designed and will be completed in 2001.

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A long-time repeat offender describes the impact of meeting with his victims.