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Restorative Justice for Sexual Assaults? Let the Victim Decide

The following article caught our attention at RJI. http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/melbournes-legal-fraternity-considers-restorative-justice-for-sex-assault-victims-20131214-2ze9l.html

It is our opinion at RJI that crime victims should have the right to restorative justice–no matter the crime.  This should apply to victims of sexual assault. Some have said that there runs the risk of “re-victimizing” victims of such abuse. However, it is our belief that victims are empowered through restorative justice processes. Victims should have the choice to participate in restorative justice or choose not to participate–at that time. As this article points out often cases of sexual assault go unreported or the offender is never caught. Certainly restorative justice processes that urge offender accountability (i.e. taking responsibility for the crime committed) can only empower victims of abuse.

 

 

There are 2 comments. Add Yours.

Gloria Smith

Sexual Assault victims should not be prevented from access to restorative justice if they choose it. I have been a victim of sexual assault and I have defended those accused of sexual assault. It was a long process between the two events. Bottom line: healing. Not allowing sexual assault victims to choose rj is interfering with their right to choose; again.

Kim Workman

New Zealand is currently developing a restorative justice response to sexual violence, which is highly effective. An excellent recent article by Kirsty Johnston describes the process. Link to: Alternative road for victims of sex crime | Stuff.co.nz
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/…/Alternative-road-for-victims-of-sex-crime

A recent publication supports this approach. “What we have found,” says Elisabeth McDonald, Victoria University associate law professor and author of the book From Real Rape to Real Justice, “is that not everyone wants the outcome to be long-term imprisonment. What they do want is an apology and an acknowledgement and they don’t want it to happen again.” Read a review of the book at: http://my.lawsociety.org.nz/in-practice/the-changing-law/legal-publications/book-published-from-real-rape-to-real-justice-prosecuting-rape-in-new-zealand