Restorative justice is gaining acceptance for addressing harm and crime. Interventions have been developed for a wide range of wrongdoing. This book considers the use of restorative justice in response to sexual abuse. Rather than a blueprint or detailing a specific set of programs, it is more about mapping possibilities. It allows people to carefully consider its use in responding to violent crimes such as sexual abuse.
Criminal justice approaches tend to sideline and re-traumatize victims, and punish offenders to the detriment of accountability. Alternatively, restorative justice centers on healing for victims, while holding offenders meaningfully accountable. Criminal justice responses tend to individualize the problem, and catch marginalized communities, such as ethnic minorities, within its net. Restorative justice recognizes that sexual abuse is a form of gender-based violence.
Community-based practices are needed, sometimes in conjunction with, and sometimes to counteract, traditional criminal justice responses. This book describes impacts of sexual abuse, and explanations for sexual offending, demonstrating how restorative justice can create hope through trauma.
About the Authors:
Judah Oudshoorn is a Professor of Community and Criminal Justice at Conestoga College in Kitchener, Canada. He has worked restoratively with victims, offenders, and communities in the aftermath of sexual abuse, through the Restorative Opportunities program of the Correctional Service of Canada, the Revive program at Community Justice Initiatives, and Circles of Support and Accountability at the Mennonite Central Committee Ontario. He lives in Ontario, Canada.
Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz is Director of Mennonite Central Committee’s (MCC) Office on Crime and Justice. She has co-authored the Victim Offender Conferencing in PA’s Juvenile Justice System curriculum, a manual focusing on the application of VOM/C within Pennsylvania. She lives in Lancaster, PA.
Michelle Jackett received her BA from University of Waterloo and her MA from Eastern Mennonite University. She is a sessional instructor at University of Waterloo. She lives in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.