CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Friday, September 10, 2021

Coker on Restorative Responses to Intimate Partner Violence

Donna Coker (University of Miami School of Law) has posted an abstract of Restorative Responses to Intimate Partner Violence (in COMPARATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION 46 (Maria Federica Moscati, Michael Palmer, & Marian Roberts eds. 2020), Edward Elgar Publishing) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Intimate partner violence (IPV) cases are routinely seen in restorative justice (RJ) programs in a number of countries. I provide a comparative analysis of these programs as well as programs in the U.S. (I am unaware of any other comparable international comparison of RJ IPV programs.) Though RJ use in IPV cases remains controversial, feminist interest in the potential for RJ has increased significantly. This interest is prompted, in part, by the development of specialized programs equipped to address IPV. These programs include substantial preparation, safety planning with survivors, and the provision of resources for both the person who was harmed and the person who caused harm. In addition, programs in countries with an adversarial legal system must ensure that statements made in the RJ process are not admissible in future criminal or civil actions. U.S. feminist interest in restorative responses is also prompted by a growing disenchantment with the dominant crime-centered response to IPV and recognition of the ways in which feminist-inspired gender violence policy has contributed to mass incarceration. The collateral consequences of even a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction are substantial and involvement with the criminal system threatens the wellbeing of survivors, especially those who are members of racially subordinated communities. A restorative approach allows survivors a meaningful voice, disrupts social supports for IPV, and avoids simplistic “crime logic” reasoning whereby an understanding of multiple determinants of behavior is replaced with a simplistic understanding of moral agency.

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