This essay examines the origins and uses of restorative justice with sexual offending and the contemporary challenges and controversies surrounding this. It charts the range of ad hoc initiatives which have sought to apply a restorative form of intervention with violent or sexual offending from first time and ‘acquaintance’ rape as well as young sexual abusers to high risk sexual offenders in the form of circles of support and accountability. Such schemes are often presented as a counter to the failings of retributive forms of justice and are premised on Braithwaite’s (1989) notion of ‘reintegrative shaming’ that seek to reintegrate offenders into the community. Critics of restorative justice traditionally put forward a number of core objectives when restorative justice is applied to serious forms of offending such as sexual offending. The essay also sets out and seeks to counter these principal challenges and how they may be overcome. For the most part, however, restorative justice has failed to reach its potential as a fully fledged sentencing rationale in being applied as a mainstream response to a wide range of offending including that at the higher end of the spectrum. The essay also seeks to examine barriers to restorative justice within contemporary penal policy and to highlight some of the most controversial applications of the restorative paradigm including those related to clergy sexual abuse. It concludes by offering some thoughts on the future of restorative justice as a mainstream responses to serious forms of offending.
|Title of host publication||The Oxford Handbook of Sex Offences and Sex Offending|
|Editors||B Francis, T Sanders|
|Publisher||Oxford University Press|
|Publication status||Published - 05 Jan 2017|