Restorative justice is gaining acceptance for addressing harm and crime. Interventions have been developed for a wide range of wrongdoing. This book considers the use of restorative justice in response to sexual abuse. Rather than a blueprint or detailing a specific set of programs, it is more about mapping possibilities. It allows people to carefully consider its use in responding to violent crimes such as sexual abuse.
Criminal justice approaches tend to sideline and re-traumatize victims, and punish offenders to the detriment of accountability. Alternatively, restorative justice centers on healing for victims, while holding offenders meaningfully accountable. Criminal justice responses tend to individualize the problem, and catch marginalized communities, such as ethnic minorities, within its net. Restorative justice recognizes that sexual abuse is a form of gender-based violence.
Community-based practices are needed, sometimes in conjunction with, and sometimes to counteract, traditional criminal justice responses. This book describes impacts of sexual abuse, and explanations for sexual offending, demonstrating how restorative justice can create hope through trauma.