Challenges and Opportunities to using RJ for Gender-based Violence
In recent years practitioners in gender-based violence (GBV) and restorative justice (RJ) spaces have received increasing inquiries about how to use RJ practices to respond to GBV. Given the important differences between GBV and situations where RJ is more typically assumed to be appropriate (e.g. property crime), it is imperative to assess the feasibility of using RJ in GBV contexts. People working in both GBV and RJ have often hesitated to use RJ for gender-based violence due to the complexities of the power, sexism, and patriarchy undergirds contemporary society and that fuels gender-based violence. However, the fact remains that people are seeking responses to harms outside the legal system and it is incumbent on the fields of RJ and GBV to explore how to respond in the most just, responsible, victim-centered way to best facilitate healing. Expanding opportunities for those harmed by GBV to participate in RJ requires careful consideration of power dynamics and safety. Accordingly, the University of Minnesota partnered with Seward Longfellow Restorative Justice in a research process to explore this complex and urgent topic.