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Posts Tagged ‘restorative justice’

Clare McGlynn (Durham Law School)

This article was originally published on the Guardian website on Thursday 19 May 2011.

The justice secretary, Ken Clarke, was clearly wrong when he suggested that some rapes are more serious than others. But he was right to start a debate on sentencing discounts for early pleas in rape cases.

Securing more guilty pleas at an early stage of an investigation – and most specifically not at the doors of the court – would be a positive step for many victims. An early admission can relieve a victim of the burden of pursuing a case through the demanding prosecution and trial process which many victims experience as a “second rape”.

An acknowledgement of responsibility by an offender is fundamental to many victims’ sense of justice. For many, exposure of the offender is more important than punishment and long prison sentences. They want to deprive him of his undeserved honour and status. They want vindication from their communities and families that they were harmed, that it wasn’t their fault, that the offender is to blame. (more…)

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Nikki Godden

Typically, feminists are resistant to the idea of responding to rape  – or sexual violence more generally – through restorative justice. After decades of campaigning to get the harms women suffer recognised in politics and law, their concerns that such a move will trivialise rape and provide only ‘cheap justice’ are fair. So too are the criticisms that restorative justice cannot address or appropriately account for the gendered power imbalances between the victim and offender, and that, as a result, it may cause further harm to the victim and fail to protect her and others from future violence. (more…)

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