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NCJ Number: 221568 Find in a Library
Title: Restorative Approaches to Justice: "Compulsory Compassion" or Victim Empowerment?
Journal: Acta Criminologica  Volume:20  Issue:3  Dated:2007  Pages:113-123
Author(s): H. Hargovan
Date Published: 2007
Page Count: 11
Document: PDF
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: South Africa
Annotation: This article aims to expand the debate and consider critically the advantages and shortcomings of restorative justice in South Africa, especially in the case of intimate violence.
Abstract: While restorative justice has garnered a great deal of interest and support, it is subject to fundamental limitations; making it premature to expect policymakers or the public to accept it as the routine response to crime. Much has changed in the restorative justice movement over the past 20 years. While some jurisdictions have shown remarkable progress towards making restorative justice the principle response to crime, it still plays a marginal role in South Africa. It is clear that the implementation and strengthening of restorative justice practices in the criminal justice system has to go hand in hand with victim support and empowerment. Victim empowerment means providing victim support as soon as a crime is reported and focusing on the victim’s needs by emphasizing both the restorative processes and outcomes. A core value in restorative justice is to balance offender needs, victim needs, and the needs of the community. Critiques of wide scale implementation of restorative justice practices, both within and outside the criminal justice system, have highlighted the need to prioritize victims’ needs above all else. As South Africa moves closer towards translating restorative justice policy to practice the question that arises is: Do restorative justice practices really prioritize the needs of victims, or is it more a case of compulsory compassion; using victims to help reform and reintegrate offenders into society? The question of whether a shift from punitive to restorative justice would benefit victims is very complex. This article highlights the difficulties associated with applying restorative approaches in cases of intimate violence against women and children, and proposes that the primary focus should be on victim safety and not merely offense seriousness and willingness of the offender to participate. References
Main Term(s): South Africa; Victim services
Index Term(s): Acquaintance rape; Dating Violence; Domestic assault; Victim-offender reconciliation; Victim-offender relationships; Victims in foreign countries
Note: To access the full text PDF: 1) select the provided link; 2) from the Acta Criminologica Web site, select "Table of Contents"; 3) select the corresponding Volume and Issue (see the NCJRS abstract record for the exact Volume and Issue); 4) scroll the Table of Contents to the exact article; and 5) click on the "full text" icon. Downloaded on February 13, 2008.
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