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Sexual Violence and Abuse

Few crimes have more power to produce profound injury to victims or outrage and fear in communities than sexual violence. These articles and resources address the use of restorative justice with sexual violence and abuse victims and perpetrators.

Restorative justice may provide additional justice mechanism for victims of sexual crime, study shows
from the article on Phys.org: According to the findings of a recently published study, restorative justice could provide an additional justice mechanism for victims of sexual crime which can support the needs of victims, offenders, and their families, in the aftermath of sexual crime in Ireland. The study entitled "Sexual Trauma and Abuse, Restorative and Transformative Possibilities?" based on 149 interviews with victims, offenders, judges and others, and a review of the global literature found that "all cohorts of participants are in favour of restorative justice in sexual violence cases as an additional justice mechanism for victims of sexual crime, as all participants recognise the considerable gaps that exist in current justice provision for victims of sexual crime in this state"....
Dalhousie restorative justice response to Facebook comments questioned
from the article by Marieke Walsh in Global News: Dalhousie University’s decision to use a restorative justice process in dealing with offensive Facebook comments have some people concerned that there won’t be real consequences for the perpetrators. The university says some of the female victims chose the informal approach which is one of two options under the school’s sexual harassment policy. The decision means that the victims, perpetrators, and the university will work together to look at the harm done by the sexually violent and abusive comments and what the appropriate consequences should be.
Offenders' testimonies difficult to absorb - but they offer critical insights
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.
How to settle the Pacetti affair — without politics
from the article by Steve Sullivan in iPolitics: The problem of Massimo Pacetti seems to be one with no obvious solution. The Montreal MP was kicked out of the Liberal caucus by Justin Trudeau after an NDP MP came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct. His accuser — like a lot of women in similar circumstances — has rejected going the justice system route. Parliament has no process in place to deal with such cases.... Mr. Pacetti’s accuser has said that she doesn’t want “vengeance … It is only a desire to be heard, a desire to have an apology, a desire, in the end, to heal.”
Dealing with rape face to face
from the article by Ruth Krug and Battle Creek Enquirer: More than a dozen women have now stepped forward alleging rape by iconic funnyman Bill Cosby, but few are likely to achieve some element of justice. That's because they are clinging to the hopes that the criminal justice system will do what its name seems to imply: restore some sense of balance, or justice, after a crime has been committed.
Victims of sexual crime may confront their attacker
from the article by Deaerbhail McDonald in Independent: Victims of sexual crime who want to confront their perpetrators should be supported by the State in doing so, according to a new study on sexual abuse and restorative justice. Restorative justice, which deals with victims and offenders by focusing on the harm arising from crime and resolving the underlying problems which caused it, has previously been ruled out for cases of sexual assault.
Success of sex abuse treatment highlighted
from the article by Cormac O'Keeffe in Irish Examiner: Only four out of 114 sex offenders who underwent treatment at a specialist abuse organisation have re-offended.... Maeve Lewis, executive director, said the voluntary- body was one of only two community-based sex offender programmes in the country. She said there should be one in “every single county”, as long as they were run by appropriately skilled and qualified staff. Speaking at the launch of the body’s 2013 annual report, Ms Lewis said restorative justice programmes — involving both offender and victim — offered a possible way forward.
Does ‘restorative justice’ in campus sexual assault cases make sense?
from the article by Meg Mott in the Washington Post: It makes sense that victim advocates put personal safety above all other considerations. They meet her when she is most distraught. But that particular emotional reality, while very big, is not necessarily permanent. In cases of acquaintance rape, the urge to be protected from the offender often competes with the equally strong urge to be heard.
Garry on Good news from Canada on Circles of Support and Accountability
If you want to look at this behavior as a mental deficiency/illness and as abnormal sexual behavior where do the problems stem from? Is there [...]
Transforming campus culture to prevent rape: The possibility and promise of restorative justice as a response to campus sexual violence
From the article by Alletta Brenner on The Harvard Journal of Law & Gender Blog: Though feminists have long argued that rape is linked to sex discrimination, legal responses to rape tend to ignore the ways that social and cultural norms contribute to sexual violence. One exception, however, exists in the context of federal anti-discrimination law under Title IX, which applies to colleges and universities that receive federal funds. Under the legal framework established by Title IX, rape constitutes a form of severe sexual harassment, to which educational institutions are legally obligated to respond.An institution’s failure to do so is considered evidence of sex discrimination and may subject it to both federal penalties and civil liability. Recently, this obligation was further strengthened by the passage of legislation that codifies particular aspects of what campus grievance processes for rape survivors must include and requires schools to take affirmative steps to transform campus culture to prevent rape.
Lisa Rea, Restorative Justice International on Sex victims 'should get court choice'
Thank you for posting this. I am encouraged by this article from Australia. Restorative Justice belongs wherever victims have been harmed. With sexual offenses restorative [...]
Sex victims 'should get court choice'
From the article by Jane Lee in The Courier: Victims of sexual assaults, particularly in cases unlikely to result in a conviction, should be able to access other forms of justice, former state attorney-general Rob Hulls says. Mr Hulls, now the director of RMIT's Centre for Innovative Justice, said that while more people had been prosecuted for sexual offences over the past five years, they still carried one of the lowest rates of conviction of any crime. This was partly due to the ''he said, she said'' battle after perpetrators pleaded not guilty, and the high standard of proof - beyond reasonable doubt - required for serious crimes. The adversarial court system, which is often costly and unwieldy, had failed many victims as a result. It would continue to deter them from the prosecution process and could retraumatise them.
Restorative justice for sexual assault
from the entry by Miri on Brute Reason: ....Someone asked me to write about what restorative justice might look like from the perspective of a rape survivor. To be clear, I am not a survivor of rape, although I am a survivor of sexual assault. In any case, I can only speak for myself. But when I think about justice, this is what comes to mind. I would want a perpetrator of sexual assault to have to learn about the roots of what they did. It’s not as simple is “Sexual assault is bad, don’t sexually assault people.” I would want them to understand rape culture. I would want them to understand all of the factors that might have contributed to their decision (because, yes, it was their decision) to sexually assault someone. I would want them to understand that their socialization has prepared them to become a person who sexually assaults people, but that this can be undone.
Rape victim 're-victimised' by system
from the article by Joelle Dally for The Press: It took Helena Watson more than three decades to speak out about her father's sexual abuse. Now the Christchurch woman says she has been revictimised by restorative justice.
An Outcome Evaluation of Minnesota Circles of Support and Accountability (MnCoSA)
from the study by the Minnesota Department of Corrections: ....The use of the COSA model with high-risk sex offenders began in a small Mennonite community in Canada in the early 1990s. Grounded in the tenets of the restorative justice philosophy, the COSA model attempts to help sex offenders successfully reenter the community and, thus, increase public safety, by providing them with social support as they try to meet their employment, housing, treatment, and other social needs. Each COSA consists of anywhere between four and six community volunteers, one of whom is a primary volunteer, who meet with the offender on a regular basis. The results from several evaluations of the Canadian COSA model suggest it significantly reduces sex offender recidivism....
More meditations on restorative justice
from the entry by kario on The Writing Life: ….It wasn't until I saw my molester as a human being that I began to heal my own profound wounds. I spent years in therapy, took lots of different anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants, started yoga, and came to a better place, but the REAL freedom from pain came when I forgave him. Not in person (I don't honestly even know if he is alive today), but in my heart. That doesn't mean that I don't still feel the impact of his behavior in my life and it doesn't mean I would have the courage to meet him face-to-face if I had the opportunity, although I hope I would. It means that I acknowledge that he made a big mistake and, as a human being, he was entitled to do that. It doesn't mean that he is absolved of any wrongdoing, especially since I suspect he molested lots of other children as well, but it means that I don't feel as though I can pass judgment on him and his life. I certainly don't believe he deserves to be killed for his actions, although I did for many, many years.
Rape
One personally perceived flaw with mandatory restorative justice is that not all offenders (especially rapists pertaining to the power/anger based motivations of rape) would be [...]
Christina
I’m sorry for your pain Christina, may you find strength to overcome.
Power of One: Restorative justice couples victims with offenders
from the article on CTV.ca: ....A woman named Marité has been taking part in the process, not by facing her sexually-abusive father, but rather, another man who committed similar acts. She said that results have helped her cope with the damage she suffered. "For him it was like I was his daughter," said Marité. "And I was able also to express my anger to him and that's what he wanted rather than silence from his daughter." "I can now go forward because I'm not bound to my father anymore. I can leave him go."
NCHERM-CR announces summit on the application of restorative justice practices to cases of campus sexual misconduct
from the press release of the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management The NCHERM-CR, the Conflict Resolution Practice Group of The National Center for Higher Education Risk Management ( www.ncherm.org ), will be hosting a two-day invitational Summit on the use of restorative justice practices in student-on-student sexual misconduct cases. This Summit is being convened to explore ways in which forms of conflict resolution, and especially restorative justice practices, may be utilized lawfully, productively and beneficially to improve on the traditional approaches used in student disciplinary proceedings.

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Restorative Justice Online - Featured Video

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