Restorative Justice Approach

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Prior to analysing the applicability of the restorative justice approach vis-à-vis sexual violence or gendered harms, it is pertinent to understand that sexual violence is a serious breach of trust and often a relationship betrayal. In the context of India, the offence of sexual violence may comprise of sexual harassment of women, use of criminal force to women with the intent to outrage her modesty or with the intent to disrobe, stalking, voyeurism and rape. The survivors and offenders of sexual violence suffer from discriminating feelings of humiliation and stigma as a result of the responses from their surroundings. While on one hand, the survivors are not readily accepted by the society and there is a propagation of indignity and stigma…show more content…
The current retributive justice system recognises victims only symbolically, thereby denying them real participation in decision making. In order to ensure maximum victim participation, the restorative justice approach comes as a contrast to the traditional criminal justice system. The process of recovery from crime needs to involve a process of coming to terms with the occurrence of crime and reducing self blame . These feelings of self-blame and the impact of crime tend to be more devastating and long lasting for cases of sexual offending. The restorative approach prefers the use of the term ‘survivor’ rather than the term ‘victim’ which is ingrained in passivity, suffering and self-blame. The effects of sexual violence upon the survivors and the society are invasive and far reaching; so much so that all conventional attempts to address the issue and seek justice for victims have not only failed but have also left victims without a sense of justice and often magnified the adverse impacts of initial…show more content…
Sexual violence thereby presents exceptional challenges to the delivery of effective justice processes. The main reason behind it is the denial of offence by the offender and difficulty to secure convictions. To prevent such a scenario, the restorative justice model can be followed which enables earlier admission of guilt thereby providing the victims with the satisfaction of having their victimisation acknowledged. Moreover the actors within the traditional justice system are susceptible to the same flawed beliefs about sexual violence prevalent across society; correspondingly only offences reflecting traditional notions of violence are progressed to a trial. Finally the offenders usually claim innocence on the advice of legal counsel, denying victim acknowledgement and validation of harm, while victims are compelled to withstand re-traumatising and emotionally challenging court procedures with the minimal likelihood of achieving a guilty verdict for their

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