This paper examines restorative justice for sexual assault from the perspective of three groups of survivors: a adults victimized by adult perpetrators; b adults or juveniles victimized by juveniles; and c adults sexually molested as children by adults. Restorative options include sharing circles, victim-offender dialogue, victim impact panels, community reparation boards, circles of support, sentencing circles, conferencing with juveniles and adults, and restorative discipline in educational settings Umbreit et al. Whereas judicial processes and incarceration primarily aim for deterrence and punishment of the offender, restorative justice can be both responsive to survivor needs for validation, empowerment, and repair of harm and preventative of future sexual assault.
(PDF) Why restorative justice matters for criminology | Estelle Zinsstag - sadamendico.tk
This paper reviews data documenting the high levels of attrition that transpire between reporting sexual assault to law enforcement and case disposition by prosecutors. The data demonstrate that conventional justice has over a period of years been very good at doing little to respond to sexual assault reports. Even when restorative alternatives are made available, the status quo frequently prevails.
Program directors report that the rates of utilization by prosecutors are low. There is a credible argument that sexual assault service providers, advocates, and policy makers can take leadership in the development of restorative options both in parallel with and independent from the conventional justice system. Where RJ is an option the police should contact the victim unless there are exceptional reasons not to do so to ask for their views on reparation as a condition of the caution.
Additionally, if the offender has already indicated they are willing to participate the victim can be asked if they would like to be involved in a direct or indirect RJ process. The timing of this invitation can be crucial as victims often need a little time to recover from the initial trauma of the offence, before being able to agree to address the issues involved. If the victim does not wish to participate in any meeting or have any contact, direct or indirect, with the offender or have any harm made good or compensation paid, these views must be recorded in writing on the case papers by an officer involved in the investigation and taken into account when determining what conditions are to be applied.
Where the direct victim does not want to participate in a restorative process, the police should consider whether there is an available and appropriate community member also affected by the crime or otherwise representing the community who would add value to the restorative process with the offender.
In cases where neither the victim nor an appropriate community member is available, a restorative approach could still be used to deliver the conditional caution, by encouraging the offender to consider what harm their offence may have caused, and how best they might repair it. The final decision whether or not a prosecution rather than diversion is in the public interest is a matter for the prosecutor, not the victim.
For example, the victim may provide further information in relation to the background or the impact of the offence.
Restorative justice in domestic violence cases is justice denied
However, while the views of victims are important they do not operate as a veto on diversion or prosecution. Where a victim of domestic abuse demands restorative justice, it should only take place after careful consideration and advice from supervisors or experts. Prosecutors should give careful consideration to ensuring that:.
The Code for Crown Prosecutors is a public document, issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions that sets out the general principles Crown Prosecutors should follow when they make decisions on cases. This guidance assists our prosecutors when they are making decisions about cases.