Monatsschrift für Kriminologie und Strafrechtsreform vol:97 issue:1 pages:93-106
The use of restorative justice (RJ) for sexual violence has been the subject of on-going debate among RJ advocates, victim rights movement and feminist activists, for some time. This article will examine existing theories on restorative justice with a specific focus on the appropriateness of restorative justice for sexual violence. Theories surrounding the benefits of RJ in cases of sexual violence will be explored and comparisons will be drawn between the approaches taken by restorative justice and the traditional criminal justice system to address sexual violence. Concerns about the use of restorative justice for sexual violence will also be discussed, including concerns about re-victimisation, power imbalances, due process rights of offenders and the relationship between restorative justice and the criminal justice system. Theoretical considerations of practical challenges such as the establishment of appropriate points of referral to restorative justice programmes and decisions regarding the types of sexual offences suitable for RJ will be examined in detail. The paper will conclude by offering some reflections as to possible ways forward.