The International Journal of Restorative Justice

Article

Exploring amenability of a restorative justice approach to address sexual offences

Keywords Restorative justice, sexual abuse, victim-survivor, justice attitudes, gender
Authors Angela Hovey, BJ Rye en Courtney McCarney
Author's information

377960 Angela Hovey
Angela Hovey, PhD, RSW, is an associate professor at the School of Social Work, Lakehead University, Orillia, Canada.

377963 BJ Rye
BJ Rye, PhD, is an associate professor at the Departments of Psychology and Sexuality, Marriage, and Family Studies, St Jerome's University at the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada.

377966 Courtney McCarney
Courtney McCarney, MSW, RSW is a graduate of the School of Social Work, Lakehead University, Orillia, Canada. Contact author: Angela Hovey at ahovey@lakeheadu.ca
  • Abstract

      This study aimed to explore current attitudes regarding the amenability of a restorative justice approach to addressing harms caused by sexual offences. A web-based survey of a university student sample included a specific narrative response question assessing empathetic responses to stepfather-teen sexual abuse scenarios. Many (78 per cent) participants endorsed a restorative justice approach, a substantial minority (19 per cent) of whom endorsed restorative justice while stipulating retributive justice conditions. Only 22 per cent completely rejected a restorative justice approach. The overarching theme was the dichotomous opinion of restorative justice as either a sufficient (e.g. best option, rehabilitative value) or insufficient (e.g. not enough punishment) response to addressing sexual offences. There was an overall self-reflective openness and willingness to consider a restorative justice approach to address sexual offences.

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