A National Portrait of Restorative Approaches to Intimate Partner Violence
The Center for Court Innovation recently released a report that documents how restorative approaches are currently being applied to intimate partner violence (a.k.a. domestic violence) in the United States. Through surveys and site visits at 34 programs addressing intimate partner violence and/or sexual assault through restorative, indigenous, culturally-based, or transformative approaches, the study’s findings inform a set of guiding principles and practice recommendations for the field.
Based on their research, the authors recommended that restorative approaches center their responses on the agency and safety of the harmed person(s), that restorative approaches engage the person(s) causing harm—as well as a network of invested community members—in an active, participatory process of accountability and that restorative programs recognize that culture matters and are mindful of the tension between honoring and appropriating indigenous practices.
Self-identified program strengths fell into four general categories: an emphasis on participants’ strengths rather than deficits, an ability to provide all members of the family with a voice, incorporation of participants’ larger communities into the process, and the expertise of dedicated, flexible staff.
Challenges noted by program representatives generally fell into four categories: resistance to restorative approaches, unmotivated participants, participants’ unmet needs beyond the program scope, and insufficient program resources.