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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.

Robert Powers' case & his victims
As I read the comments by Robert's pen pal, Ines, as well as the comments by Ron Keine, I realize how complicated this case is. [...]
victims of Robert Powers
This is indeed sad that Robert Powers died before he could show his remorse to his victims and their families. As a long time anti [...]
Searching for Robert Power's victims
I am very grateful that RJ online has taken an interest in Robert Power's quest to reach out to his victims and that Lisa Rea [...]
Restorative Justice on Death Row: healing for crime victims?
by Lisa Rea A death row inmate in Florida recently died in prison before the state could execute him. I became aware of Robert's case because I met his pen pal, Ines, a woman from Switzerland who had be-friended him through a pen pal organization, Lifespark, based in that country. After being interviewed by Ines for her organization's newsletter on the subject of forgiveness and restorative justice I learned more about the man she wrote in a Florida prison who had served some 20 years on death row. The story came to an end on December 3rd, 2010 when Robert unexpectedly died of cancer. But what I learned from my encounter with Ines was the real need to open doors more fully for all victims of violent crime wherever their offenders live and wherever their victims live (if they are still alive). I learned through Ines that her pen pal, once a very violent offender, was ready to attempt to make things right, as much as possible, with the victims or victim's family members that he had injured. The rap sheet on this man was very violent and longer than I'd ever seen. I often learn things about restorative justice and how to apply it seemingly coincidentally. When cases draw me, or more likely the people behind the cases, I have a hard time saying no.
justice for 8 yr old kid
Im interested in any updates on who did the harm and support circles and how they went. Where is the process at now? Is there [...]
rape and restorative justice
Thank you for posting this. I think this is very important. I think there was a time when some rape victims, and those who counsel [...]
Approach with caution not cynicism: Rape and restorative justice
From the post by Nikki Godden on Inherently Human: Typically, feminists are resistant to the idea of responding to rape – or sexual violence more generally – through restorative justice. After decades of campaigning to get the harms women suffer recognised in politics and law, their concerns that such a move will trivialise rape and provide only ‘cheap justice’ are fair. So too are the criticisms that restorative justice cannot address or appropriately account for the gendered power imbalances between the victim and offender, and that, as a result, it may cause further harm to the victim and fail to protect her and others from future violence. While this means I’m wary of restorative justice as a response to rape, I do think there is value in exploring this idea. Likewise, in a 2010 report Jennifer Brown et al. mention restorative justice as an ‘expanded justice alternative’ that could be considered – although they are similarly careful to set the sceptical feminist scene.
justice for the 8 year old kid ..
 the parents should not treat therechild like that. they must comfort and welcome that kid. cause she might have a trauma.
Will you help us..?
Good Morning, On September 20, 2010 our Canadian government is coming back from summer recess. When they do they're going to decide on two pieces [...]
Archdiocese invites abuse victims to gathering for healing, advocacy
from rick DelVecchio's article in Catholic News Service: The Archdiocese of San Francisco is inviting survivors of clergy abuse in San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area to a fall gathering for healing and advocacy. ....Survivor Carol Mateus said she has been encouraging such a gathering for more than a year. She said many victims continue to suffer not only from having been abused but also from having been ignored initially by the church.
Churches grapple with whether to welcome convicted sex offenders
from the article by Adelle M. Banks in the Washington Post: "All are welcome" is a common phrase on many a church sign and Web site. But what happens when a convicted sex offender is at the door? Church officials and legal advocates are grappling with how -- and whether -- people who have been convicted of sex crimes should be included in U.S. congregations, especially when children are present:
Catholic church prays for abuse victims and abusers
from Thelma Etim's article on BBC News: While the victims of abuse at the hands of Roman Catholic clergy continue their fight for justice and reparation, bishops in the Church have invited parishioners in England and Wales to make the four Fridays in the month special days of prayer for children abused by priests.
circles of support/homelessness
See below EM I sent Dr. Robin Wilson. I have not had a response. Your input would be appreciated. My EM is edward.ricca@vadoc.virginia.gov I was [...]
clergy abuse
Lisa, Your suggestion is quite valid. But as a recovering Catholic, I can offer little hope that the Catholic hierarchy would even consider it. Since [...]
clergy abuse scandal in Europe & restorative justice
Thank you, Dan, for posting this story. As hard as it is for the public to keep reading news accounts like this one we must [...]
Smyth victim in Brady resign call
from the article on BBC News: A victim of serial abuser Fr Brendan Smyth has called on the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland to resign. Cardinal Sean Brady has admitted he was at meetings in 1975 where two abused children signed vows of silence over their complaints against Fr Smyth. On Monday, a victim of Fr Smyth called Samantha told the BBC the church needed to "root out the rot and start from the top". "This is not a witch hunt, this is about what is right," she added.
Ministering to sex offenders
interview by Saul Gonzales for PBS' Religion and Ethics: GONZALEZ: First started by Canadian churches in the mid 1990s, COSA’s work with sex offenders centers on small discussion circles that meet weekly. In the circles, four to six volunteers from the community are matched with one sex offender, called a core member. In this circle the offender is named John. JOHN: And I screwed up and I made some bad choices because I become careless and I become complacent, and that is something that anybody that’s in my situation cannot do. GONZALEZ: The circles are intended to get recently paroled sex offenders to take responsibility for the crimes they’ve committed and provide them material and moral support as they attempt to reenter the community. JOHN: I can talk about anything, anything. GONZALEZ: Anything. JOHN: Anything. I told them things about me that I wouldn’t tell my closest friend.
Ministering to sex offenders
interview by Saul Gonzales for PBS' Religion and Ethics: GONZALEZ: First started by Canadian churches in the mid 1990s, COSA’s work with sex offenders centers on small discussion circles that meet weekly. In the circles, four to six volunteers from the community are matched with one sex offender, called a core member. In this circle the offender is named John. JOHN: And I screwed up and I made some bad choices because I become careless and I become complacent, and that is something that anybody that’s in my situation cannot do. GONZALEZ: The circles are intended to get recently paroled sex offenders to take responsibility for the crimes they’ve committed and provide them material and moral support as they attempt to reenter the community. JOHN: I can talk about anything, anything. GONZALEZ: Anything. JOHN: Anything. I told them things about me that I wouldn’t tell my closest friend. (speaking to group at COSA meeting): I don’t want to get into debates. That’s not being helpful for the core member.
Good news from Canada on Circles of Support and Accountability
from Bruce Cheadle's article in The Canadian Press: The Harper government has agreed to fund a program aimed at keeping convicted sex offenders from committing more crimes - apparently reversing an earlier rejection of the acclaimed project. Some $7.4 million in federal funding will be provided over five years for Circles of Support and Accountability, the office of Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan confirmed Thursday. "By deciding today to fund this program, our government is taking concrete action to make our communities safer," spokesman Chris McCluskey said in an email. The five-year deal will help the largely volunteer organization double the number of sex offenders in the program to about 300 next year, and more closely monitor results to determine what works best with offenders once they've served their sentences.
Forget it, Roman? Polanski and the politics of what we remember
from Gareth Higgins' post on The Film Talk: A friend suggested I should comment regarding Roman Polanski’s arrest and the attempt to extradite him to the US to face charges stemming from his admitted sex offence against a 13 year old girl in 1977. I’m reluctant to do so, because the issues are complex and probably better handled in conversation where dialogue partners might arrive at a truth together, so I’d like to invite such a conversation in the comments below.

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Restorative Justice Online - Featured Video

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