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Restorative Justice, Gender and Violence: Exploring the Issues

Lead Researchers: Lori Haskell and Melanie Randall

This component the NSRJ-CURA project aims to help develop the theoretical and empirical basis for a critical assessment of the efficacy and possibilities for a restorative justice legal approach to crimes of gendered violence. This will include a critical assessment of the possibilities and challenges of using restorative justice to respond to violence against women in intimate relationships (i.e. domestic violence), and a discussion of how restorative justice can adequately address concerns about the unique nature, dynamics and harms of this crime, and adequately strive to ensure victim safety.

Part of the project’s work will be theoretical and grounded in a review of the key literature in the field of restorative justice and gendered violence developed to date. The fairly thin empirical research in the field of restorative justice approaches to violence against women is inconclusive. Furthermore, like the field more broadly, it suffers from some conceptual confusion about what restorative justice actually means and entails. 

The project will involve a documentation and review of actual restorative justice models/processes already developed (or in development) and in operation in Canada, specifically dealing with crimes of sexual assault and domestic violence.

It will also involve key informant interviews and focus groups to generate data on Nova Scotia stakeholders’ perceptions of restorative justice and its applicability to gendered crimes of violence. These interviews and focus groups will involve people working in a variety of sectors (community, service delivery, criminal justice system, government) and will also include the perspectives of women who are or have been victims of violence.