Practitioners' perspectives on using restorative justice with crimes of gendered violence

Susan L. Miller, Kristen Hefner, LeeAnn Iovanni

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Restorative justice (RJ) as a supplement or alternative to the formal criminal justice system is establishing a foothold in institutional practice given its greater flexibility and ability to allow victims and offenders to play a more integral role in the justice process. Most RJ programs in the U.S. focus on minor crimes and juvenile offenders. Currently, 33 states include options to address serious crimes (murder, rape/sexual assault, and intimate partner violence and abuse); however, only a handful actually do, and very little is known about the potential advantages and disadvantages of RJ specifically for crimes of gendered violence. Through telephone interviews with 33 directors and/or facilitators of state-operated RJ programs in 27 of the 33 states that include crimes of severe violence, this research explores current practices of victim-offender dialog at post-conviction stages and respondents’ perceptions about the appropriateness of and the necessary considerations for using RJ for gender-based crimes. The range of responses suggests a missed opportunity to assist victims of gendered violence when RJ programs exclude these crimes. Well-intentioned advocates and scholars who have allowed theoretical arguments–without empirical support–to dissuade programs from developing RJ approaches should pay heed to practitioners’ albeit tempered optimism.

Original languageEnglish
JournalContemporary Justice Review
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)65-90
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2020


  • Restorative justice
  • gendered violence
  • victimization


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