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Offenders' testimonies difficult to absorb - but they offer critical insights

Dec 12, 2014

from the article by Dearbhail McDonald in the Independent:

The voice of the victims who spoke to the UCD-led research study into restorative justice was harrowing. But it was fascinating to listen to the voices, one that is rarely heard, of sexual offenders themselves.

Some 23 offenders, including several jailed for life for grave sexual crimes, spoke of their experience of their crimes, the criminal justice system and the impact of their offending on their victims and their own families.

The men spoke of how the adversarial nature of criminal investigations and trials placed them on the defensive; any attempt to right their wrongs curbed by a system that requires them to remain silent or else punished for their honesty and co-operation.

Critically, they offered insights into what led them to offend.

Their testimony is difficult to absorb, but the voice of offenders must be heard if we are to root out sexual violence.

For society to come to terms with sexual violence, most of it perpetrated by someone known to the victim, we have to have a better understanding of what motivates those who commit such crimes.

That is why the proposal to offer restorative justice schemes to victims of sexual violence, where they are open to it, has a lot to offer...

Read the whole article.

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