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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.