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Researching 'under the radar' practices: exploring restorative practices in sexual violence cases
2018-06, Keenan, Marie, Zinsstag, Estelle, O'Nolan, Caroline
Sexual violence is a pernicious social phenomenon. The limited effectiveness of traditional justice responses has resulted in a search for alternative and innovative responses. This article highlights research regarding one such innovative response to sexual violence: restorative justice. The article outlines the multi-strategy research design adopted to explore the potential of restorative justice in cases of sexual violence before focusing in particular on one aspect of that design: a web-based survey used to map the global population of programmes engaging in these practices. The article highlights the many challenges inherent in researching emerging social responses and suggests that web-based surveys offer a means of mapping emerging or ‘under the radar’ practices and harvesting important qualitative data on sensitive topics. They may be especially valuable when populations are geographically dispersed. However, tailoring survey instruments for respondents who are multi-lingual presents difficulties particularly when the issues under investigation are linguistically and cognitively complex.
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Sexual violence and restorative practices in Belgium, Ireland and Norway: a thematic analysis of country variations
2016-03, Keenan, Marie, Zinsstag, Estelle, O'Nolan, Caroline
The article compares and contrasts the provision of some restorative practices in cases of sexual violence in three European countries: Belgium, Ireland and Norway. It begins by briefly outlining efforts to address the ‘justice gap’ experienced by victims of sexual violence within conventional justice systems. The article points to calls for the development of alternative or complementary innovative justice responses to sexual violence. It suggests that restorative justice advocates believe they can deliver a participatory, empowering and flexible form of restorative justice, which can run in tandem with conventional criminal justice processes. However, it is noted that the application of restorative approaches to cases of sexual violence has engendered some controversy. The article points to considerable inter-country divergence in the extent to which restorative justice is accessible to victims of sexual crimes and to the emergence of country-specific patterns in the provision of restorative justice in cases of sexual violence.