Restorative Justice for Female Victims and Offender

RestorativeJustice for Female Victims and Offender

RestorativeJustice for Female Victims and Offender

Therehas been a gender gap in crime criminology has conceded that femaleoffenders commit fewer crimes in general that are less dangerous andless violent compared to males. Profound changes have been witnessedin the manner in which women in the criminal justice system aretreated because of the extensive law enforcement efforts. In theirquest for justice, accountability, and reparation, restorativejustice is employed on female victims and offenders to heal thewounds of victims and restore the offenders to law-abiding citizens.

Wormer(2009) explains restorative justice as a movement within or at timesoutside the criminal justice system as a victim-centered approachwith particular relevance accorded to marginalized populations amongthem, women. The offender takes their responsibilities for the crimescommitted. From the perspective of the victim, it`s about being heardand receiving an appropriate apology so as to commence the healingprocess. From the view of the offender, it`s about taking theresponsibility for the wrongs done. She further explains the fourmodels of restorative justice involving women. The models arevictim-offender conferencing, family group conferencing, healingcircles and community reparations.

Accordingto Wormer (2013), Victim – offender conferencing or mediationbrings together parties where one offender has injured the other toseek a resolution. It addresses its participants as victims andoffenders other than disputants. Offenders listen to the crimevictims who endured suffering because of their crimes. The purpose isto aid offenders to develop empathy towards the victims and to regretwhat their actions. At times, this affects the offenders who get intune with their past victimizations and consequently prepares themfor the humanization-rehabilitation process (Katherine &ampBartollas, 2013). The family group conference that is the secondmodel in restorative justice is appropriate for needs of women sinceits focus is on parenting and helping mothers with problems of caregiving to provide better care of their child. In the healing circle,the involved parties sit in a circle to provide personal supportcaused by the crime of violence. In this stage, communication andhealing are the central focus. The last stage of community reparationattempts to repair the damages done by the wrong doers (Wormer,2013).

Belknap(2014) asserts that restorative justice increases the likelihood foroffenders to recognize and help restore victims loses the opportunityto dialogue and communicate more directly and in a context ofcommunity support. She adds that as much as it provides an avenue forthe victim’s voices to be heard, she criticizes it for potentiallytrivializing rape and re-victimizing the survivors in cases of sexualabuses. Women victims might feel pressured to participate and takeresponsibility thus making woman’s victimization secondary.Depending on the nature of the committed offense, the process mightmake the woman feel socially isolated by her partner or lack supportnetworks of her family, friends, and the community as a whole(Belknap, 2014).

Popularamong the Canadian native people is the circle sentencing laws whicha type of restorative justice. Circle sentencing attempts torediscover the traditional method of dealing with members who havebroken the law. The community groups inclusive of victims and theirfamilies as well as offenders and individuals from his support systemhandle it. Each person in the circle has analogous power, and allmust agree on what to do with the offender.

Incases of sexual abuse, the victims who are mostly women to give anexplicit version of the story since it empowers them and to providean opportunity for the offender to make reforms employ the technique.Amongst the strengths of this system is its ability to strengthen thetrust of the community towards the offender ones the consensus hasbeen reached. It empowers the victim and impacts on the offender whoassumes responsibility for their action. Circle sentencing has beencriticized for the existence of power imbalances. This is caused bythe fact that it limits the offender from speaking on their behalf.Abusive men may manipulate circle sentencing that may fail to dealeffectively with the risks and dangers of survivors (Katherine &ampBartollas, 2013).

Additionally,cited abuses of circle sentencing, is the ability for it to bemanipulated to foster inappropriate feelings of responsibility forthe abuse in the victims leaving them feeling re-victimized.


Belknap,J. (2015). Theinvisible woman: Gender, crime, and justice (4th ed.).Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Katherine,V. &amp Bartollas, C. (2013). Womenand the criminal justice systems.New York, NY: Pearson Education.

Wormer,K. (2009). Restorative justice as social justice for victims ofgendered violence: A standpoint feminist perspective.OxfordJournal,54(2), 107-116. DOI:10.1093/sw/54.2.107