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Article

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

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Restorative justice, sexual violence, victim, survivor, feminism
Authors Shirley Jülich, Julienne Molineaux and Malcolm David Green
AbstractAuthor's information

    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.


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

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

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.
Article

Restorative justice as feminist practice

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 3 2018
Keywords Restorative justice, gender-based violence, feminism
Authors Leigh Goodmark
AbstractAuthor's information

    Feminists have viewed the implementation of restorative practices warily, particularly in the context of gender-based harms. Concerns include the devaluing of gender-based harms, the reprivatisation of violence against women and the inability of restorative practitioners to guarantee safety for people subjected to abuse. But this article will argue that restorative justice can be a uniquely feminist practice, growing out of the same mistrust of state-based systems and engagement of the community that animated the early feminist movement. Although some caution is warranted, restorative justice serves the feminist goals of amplifying women’s voices, fostering women’s autonomy and empowerment, engaging community, avoiding gender essentialism and employing an intersectional analysis, transforming patriarchal structures and ending violence against women.


Leigh Goodmark
Leigh Goodmark is Professor of Law and Director of the Gender Violence Clinic at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, Baltimore, USA. Contact author: lgoodmark@law.umaryland.edu.
Article

Restorative responses to campus sexual harm: promising practices and challenges

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 3 2018
Keywords Sexual assault, feminist, restorative justice in colleges and universities
Authors Donna Coker
AbstractAuthor's information

    The purpose of this article is to examine restorative approaches to campus sexual harm. A restorative response may provide support and validation for survivors, a pathway for personal change for those who cause sexual harm, and assist in changing campus culture. The article addresses three significant challenges to developing a restorative response. The first challenge is the influence of a pervasive ideology that I refer to as crime logic. A second challenge is the need for an intersectional response that addresses the potential for bias in decisions by campus administrators and restorative justice practitioners. The third challenge is to develop restorative approaches for circumstances in which a victim/perpetrator dyad is not appropriate.


Donna Coker
Donna Coker is Professor of Law, University of Miami School of Law, Miami, USA. Contact author: dcoker@law.miami.edu.

    Ongeveer 20% van de echtscheidingen loopt uit op een zogenaamde conflict- of vechtscheiding. Om deze complexe echtscheidingszaken effectief aan te pakken, dienen professionals in het veld te beschikken over wetenschappelijk onderbouwde kennis over werkzame interventies. Mediation wordt vaak beschouwd als dé oplossing voor conflictscheidingen. Wetenschappelijk onderzoek laat echter een beperkte effectiviteit zien van mediation bij conflictscheidingen. Dit heeft onder andere te maken met de hoge prevalentie (rond 40%) van huiselijk geweld in conflictscheidingsgezinnen.
    In dit onderzoek is de visie van Nederlandse professionals over conflictscheidingen onderzocht en vergeleken met de kennis uit de wetenschappelijke literatuur. Met behulp van een online vragenlijst testten we het kennisniveau van 863 professionals die werken met conflictscheidingsgezinnen. Dit waren advocaten, professionals uit de jeugdzorg/-bescherming, mediators en professionals uit de GGZ.
    Professionals behaalden een gemiddelde score van 6,5 correcte antwoorden op een totaal van 11, waarbij juridische professionals significant beter scoorden dan sociale professionals. Slechts 17% van de professionals wist dat in bijna de helft van de conflictscheidingen huiselijk geweld een rol speelt. 55% van de professionals adviseerde in een geval van een al 7 jaar durende conflictscheiding mediation als effectieve interventie. 46% van de respondenten overschatte de prevalentie van valse beschuldigingen van huiselijk geweld en kindermishandeling bij conflictscheidingen.
    In opleidingen voor Nederlandse juridische en sociale professionals die werken met conflictscheidingsgezinnen dient meer aandacht besteed te worden aan wetenschappelijke kennis, zodat professionals handelen op basis van kennis in plaats van persoonlijke opvattingen en mythen.
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    High conflict divorces are among the 20% of divorce cases that continue to escalate over time. In order to help solve these complex divorce cases, it is important that professionals in the field possess evidence-based knowledge to provide effective interventions. One of these possible interventions is mediation, which is often seen as a panacea for high-conflict divorce (HCD) cases. However, scientific research has shown limited effectiveness of mediation in HCD cases. This is partially associated with the high prevalence (around 40%) of domestic violence in HCD.
    The present study examined professionals’ perspectives on high conflict-divorce cases and compared their views with the available scientific evidence. By means of a web-survey, we tested the knowledge of different professional groups (N = 863) who work with HCD families. The sample consisted of lawyers, child welfare/child protection professionals, mediators and mental health professionals.
    The results showed that professionals on average gave 6.5 correct responses out of 11 questions in total and that legal professionals scored significantly better than social professionals. Only 17% of the professionals were aware that in almost half of all high-conflict divorce cases domestic violence is a problem. For a high-conflict divorce case spanning 7 years, mediation was advised as an effective intervention by 55% of professionals. 46% of respondents overestimated the prevalence of false allegations of child abuse in HCD cases.
    More attention to scientific knowledge on HCD in the educational curricula for Dutch legal and social professionals is needed, in order to assure that their professional activities and decision making are based on scientific evidence instead of personal biases and myths.


Prof. dr. Corine de Ruiter
Prof. dr. Corine de Ruiter is a licensed clinical psychologist (BIG) in The Netherlands. She serves as professor of Forensic Psychology at Maastricht University. She also has a private practice. Her research focuses on the interface between psychopathology and crime. She has a special interest in the prevention of child abuse and intimate partner violence because they are both very common and often overlooked in practice.

Brigitte van Pol Msc
Brigitte van Pol studied Psychology and Law at Maastricht University. Her involvement in this research dates from her Master’s thesis on the role of mediation in high conflict divorce. The authors would like to thank the participants for their time and effort in completing our websurvey.
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