The International Journal of Restorative Justice

Article

The strategic use of terminology in restorative justice for persons harmed by sexual violence

Keywords Restorative justice, sexual violence, victim, survivor, feminism
Authors Shirley Jülich, Julienne Molineaux en Malcolm David Green
Author's information

377945 Shirley Jülich
Shirley Jülich is Senior Lecturer at the School of Social Work at the Massey University, New Zealand.

377948 Julienne Molineaux
Julienne Molineaux is Senior Research Officer at the School of Social Sciences, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand.

377951 Malcolm David Green
Malcolm David Green is Assistant Lecturer at the School of Communication, Journalism, and Marketing at Massey University, New Zealand. Contact author: m.d.green@massey.ac.nz.
  • Abstract

      An argument for the importance of strategically selected terminology in the practice of restorative justice in sexual violence cases is presented through reviews of restorative justice, communication, social constructivist and feminist literature. The significance of language and its impact on those who use it and hear it is established from its use in classical antiquity, psychotherapy and semantics. The use of the terms ‘victim’ and ‘survivor’ is explored in the fields of legal definitions and feminist theory. Reports in the existing restorative justice literature are used to bring together the literature on the impact of the use of terminology and the legal and feminist understandings of the significance of the use of the terms ‘victim’ and ‘survivor’. We argue that the restorative justice practitioner has a crucial role in guiding the person harmed in sexual violence cases in the strategic use of ‘victim’ and ‘survivor’ to enhance the positive impact of terminology on the persons harmed in acts of sexual violence. Conclusions from our explorations support the creation of a proposed sexual violence restorative justice situational map for use as a navigational aid in restorative justice practice in sexual violence cases.

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