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Annotated bibliography on domestic violence and restorative justice

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Essay Question: Should restorative justice be used in cases of Domestic Violence? A comparative analysis of the effects of domestic violence on female victims and child witnesses.

Introduction: Domestic violence is a widely discussed topic in society with its effects far-reaching and destructive. However, since it is a crime that generally goes underreported in crime statistics various means of research have allowed us an understanding of this crime and its effects on the individual as well as society. (Hayes & Prenzler, 2012) In order to obtain a greater understanding of domestic violence and the ways in which we can deal with it we will compare the effects of domestic abuse on women who have suffered domestic abuse to the children of these women, allowing us to come to an understanding as to whether restorative justice should be used to punish offenders and help rehabilitate victims. The International Violence Against Women Survey (Mouzos & Makkai, 2004) conducted between December 2002 and June 2003 involved telephone interviews with a total of 6677 Australian women between the ages of 18 and 69 years regarding their experiences of violence by a male. The results indicate that 34% of women who had a current or former intimate partner had experienced at least one form of violence during their lifetime from a partner.

While this is disturbing, the children of battered women are also severely affected. Mouzos and Makkai (2004) conclude that physically abusive behavior is transmitted across generations, thus violence learnt through witnessing domestic abuse as a child increases the risk that this behavior will be reproduced as an adult, and that the child may suffer behavioral difficulties The process of punishing domestic violence offenders has often been criticized and many theorists and researchers have attempted to determine how to punish these perpetrators in an efficient manner. In recent times restorative justice has become more widely discussed in literature surrounding domestic violence, although it is commonly used with young offenders and small crimes, it is a criticized yet recommended method within cases of domestic violence. Restorative justice is ‘a process whereby parties with a stake in a specific offence collectively resolve how to deal with the aftermath of the offence and its implications for the future’ (Marshall, 1999, pg.5). It is important that we assess and evaluate the principals behind this form of justice and decide whether it is appropriate to use in cases of domestic violence

Article 1: Aziz, S., (2010) Should restorative justice be used for cases of domestic violence? International Journal of Restorative Justice, 6(1). 1-48

In this article Aziz looks at whether restorative justice should be used in domestic violence cases. Since many sources have highlighted the alleged failure rates of other methods of dealing with cases of domestic violence, Aziz proposes to look at whether restorative justice would be an effective way of dealing with such cases in an essay form. The main focus of this essay is to assess whether restorative justice should be used to address cases of domestic violence and whether it is an effective and appropriate method of conflict resolution. This article will be very useful as a starting point to my major essay since it uses a multitude of studies to gather information about both women and children and the appropriateness of the use of restorative justice in such cases. Not only is the content useful because it shows both the pros and cons of restorative justice but the many additional sources provide a web of information on both women, children and restorative justice in domestic violence.

Article 2: Mckinney, C., Sieger, K., Agliata, A.K., & Renk, K. (2006) Childrens exposure to domestic violence. Journal of Emotional Abuse, 6(1), 1-23

In this article Mckinney, Sieger, Agliata and Renk (2006) approach the problem of Childrens exposure to domestic violence by highlighting that the development of an ecological framework, within which interventions for the effects of domestic violence can be framed, needs to be developed. Using a multitude of other studies, they show that children’s exposure to domestic violence is likely to have negative effects of their functioning ( Mickiney, et al., 2006). The article focuses on Kelley’s (1966) Ecological framework, giving examples of how it can and has been applied in more current times and its effectiveness in both dealing with and preventing domestic violence and mitigating its detrimental effects on young children. This will be very useful for my major essay as it will provide a starting point for the analysis of the effects of domestic violence against children and other forms of dealing with domestic violence apart from restorative justice practices.

Article 3: Graham – Bermann, S.A., & Hughes, H.M. (1999) The impact of domestic violence and emotional abuse on Children, Journal of Emotional abuse, 1(2), 1-21.

This is a similar study to the one references prior, in which Bermann and Hughes (1998) take a multitude of other research and theoretical data to form an idea of how we should intervene in cases where children witness domestic abuse. Many theoretical approaches are examined in an attempt to explain the way children are affected by witnessing domestic violence in the home. These theories include social learning theory, social cognition theory, family systems theory, interpersonal relationships theory and trauma theory. Finally Bermann & Hughes decide that it is very important to ‘tailor the intervention to the needs of the child’ (1998). This article is very useful to the formation of my essay in that it highlights that while restorative justice may be effective in the cases of partner abuse and battered women, it may not be effective in all cases where we see the impact of domestic violence on the children of these battered women. Thus, women and their children may not always require the same treatment in response to domestic violence in the home.

Article 4: Hughes, H.M., & Graham – Bermann, S.A., (1999) Children of Battered women, Journal of Emotional Abuse, 1(2), 23-50

This article is a collection of peer reviewed journal articles that have been taken from various areas of information on domestic violence and family abuse. From each article, information related to factors which influence the adjustment and development of children of battered women is discussed and evidence is put forth to show that the emotional abuse experienced by children of battered women is legitimate. It provides a timeline of research into the physical and emotional abuse experienced by women and the resulting effect on the children of these women. It highlights how theories of abuse have developed over time and thus the way we should deal with abuse should be adjusted. It also highlights that the way we deal with abuse should be adjusted for each individual case. Finally this article is useful for my assessment in that is outlines that more research is clearly needed into treatment of children’s difficulties. It says that while we cannot realistically stop the emotional abuse while it is occurring in homes, since it very rarely gets reported, we are able to intervene quickly after we find out to ensure that the least amount of damage is done to the child. (Hughes & Graham-Bermann, 1999)

Article 5: Fernandez, M. (2010). Restorative Justice for Domestic Violence Victims: An Integrated Approach to Their Hunger for Healing. United States: Lexington Books

This book is going to be extremely useful in my assessment. Fernandez uses a rich and detailed set of interviews and complements this with survey data to make a significantly strong case for introducing restorative justice principals into existing services for victims of domestic violence. Her research, and this books direction is primarily shaped by concerns for victim safety, domestic violence theorists and practitioners that have been working towards implementing restorative justice principled programs into the domestic violence arena but are wary of doing so for fear it will backfire. Fernandez does not disregard the fact that there are safety concerns associated with using this form of justice, however she highlights them while also weaving in theories, concepts and research in the restorative justice field and uses the voices of domestic violence victims to form her case for restorative justice programs. This book is going to shape my research and is going to be an excellent source of information for both the positives and negatives involved in implementing restorative justice principals to domestic violence cases. From this book I will be able to locate a myriad of other resources and information on the topic of restorative justice as well as the effects of domestic violence on the lives of its victims.

Article 6: Curtis – Fawley, S. & Daly, K. (2005) Gendered Violence and Restorative justice: The views of victim advocates. Violence Against Women, 11(5), 603-638

Fawley and Daley take a different approach to evaluating the problems and advantages of using restorative justice in cases of domestic violence by looking more at feminist literature over time. This article gives a very comprehensive view of restorative justice as they highlight critic’s views as well as putting forth ideas and theories that support restorative justice. It is not biased and Is a very good supporting article to Fernandez’s book. They highlight that critics warn against the use of restorative justice for a few reasons e.g. the process and outcomes are not as formal or stringent as they should be and ‘there is a chance that victims are revictimized.’ (Fawley & Daly, 2005) Where advocates of this form of justice assert that a restorative justice may be better for victims than court because it gives them a greater voice and offenders are always held accountable.

The article essentially presents the ideas of victim advocates in 2 Australian states and what they think about using restorative justice for gendered violence. The results show that although victim advocates have concerns and reservations about restorative justice, which is to be expected since it is a relatively new idea in domestic violence cases, most saw positive elements. This article provides evidence for the use of restorative justice as well evidence against the use of it but will allow me to formulate an argument that establishes both views in a coherent manner.

Article 7: Graham-Bermann, S. A., & Levendosky, A. A. (1998). Traumatic stress symptoms in children of battered women. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 13(1), 111

Graham-Bermann & Levendosky are very active researchers in the areas of domestic violence, criminology and psychology and consequently their names are seen on a few of these articles. This article will be crucial for the formulation of my argument that domestic violence effects children significantly as it provides significant statistical evidence for this. It also provides a basis for me to outline whether restorative justice should be used with children or whether it should be limited to adult use. 64 children between the ages of 7 and 12 were assess for any posttraumatic stress symptoms by their mothers, who were victims of domestic abuse at some stage over the course of the past year. The results indicate that 13% of these children qualified for a complete PTSD diagnosis, with 52% suffering from intrusive and unwanted remembering of the traumatic events, 19% displaying traumatic avoidance and 42% experiencing traumatic arousal symptoms (Graham-Bermann & Levendosky, 1998). Realistically this data indicates that children exposed to domestic violence in the home have significantly more internalizing behavioral problems and although only few qualified for a full PTSD diagnosis a significant amount exhibit many of the symptoms.

Article 8: Stubbs, J. (2007) Beyond Apology? Domestic Violence and critical questions for restorative justice, Criminology and Criminal Justice, 7(2) 149-180

This article looks at restorative justice on its own to start with, without referring to its application to domestic violence cases, it refers to many other sources to review the overall effectiveness of restorative justice in other crimes and areas of criminal justice, and then moves on to look at it within the context of domestic violence and evaluate whether it will cause more harm than good or if it has the potential to be beneficial to both the victim and the offender. Central to this discussion and analysis are questions of victim interest and safety, expectations about the victim’s role and the appeal to apology and forgiveness as is addressed in much of the restorative justice literature. (Stubbs, 2007). This article is very current thus it will be very useful since many of my other sources of information are not so, this article will be able to provide me with current and up to date discussion on restorative justice, looking at it from a more modern perspective. This article finally comes to the conclusion that in the need to take domestic violence seriously, a harsher approach may be necessary and restorative justice should be put aside or used in conjunction with other means of punishment.

Article 9: Hargovan, H. (2005) Restorative Justice & Domestic Violence: Some exploratory thoughts, Agenda. 66(1), 48-56

This article is going to be useful to add to my knowledge base for the reasons for and against implementing restorative justice in cases of domestic violence. It looks at domestic violence in non-western countries such as Africa and how it has effected women of different cultures, this is very useful since much of the data collected in America and Australia does not account for or even discuss women of different cultures and their exposure and response to domestic violence It critically examines the restorative justice approach in criminal justice but with a close reference to its applicability to domestic violence cases. It highlights that despite the implementation of the Domestic violence Act of 1998, violence in South America continues to this day (Hargovan, 2005) The second part of the focus article outlines specific provisions in the Act and proposes ways that restorative justice may be integrated into this system. It highlights that restorative justice is an effective method of dealing with domestic violence but that it is important that regulatory frameworks and minimum standards in restorative justice practice are developed.

Article 10: Stubbs, J. (2010). Relations of domination and subordination: Challenges for restorative justice in responding to domestic violence. University Of New South Wales Law Journal, 33(3), 970-986.

This journal article looks at the ways restorative justice is viewed and its effectiveness and application from each view, from an offender point of view and a victim point of view. Stubbs (2010) has gathered a large array of research and information from other sources to help argue their claim the restorative justice is effective in cases of domestic violence, provided it is placed under some ground rules and regulations. They respond to critics by putting in place methods of dealing with the problems they bring to light. Thus, Stubbs highlights that ‘under a rights based framework, competing interests between victim and offender can be adequately addressed.’ (Stubbs, 2010) It will be very useful to my assessment since It will provide an outline of the different ways restorative justice critics and supporters look at the way it can be implemented and the problems that may arise I it is used in domestic violence.

Article 11: Dutton, M. A. (1993) Understanding women’s responses to domestic violence: A redefinition of battered women syndrome, Hofstra Law Review, 21(199), 1191-1240.

In this article Dutton looks at the various ways in which women respond to domestic violence. She provides a rational for redefining battered women syndrome and looking at all the other possible effects of domestic abuse on women. She reviews literature in search for answers to questions that constantly arise about women’s responses to domestic abuse and how they should be dealt with. She looks at the nature and extent of domestic violence experienced by battered women and then covers the potential psychological reactions to this violence and finally what contextual factors have influenced women’s psychological reactions to domestic violence and how they responded to that reaction. She highlights that women victims of domestic abuse have a huge array of psychological reactions to their abuse depending on many factors such as age, culture, concern for children, economic resources etc. Because of this each case should be looked at individually and the way it is dealt with should be a reflection of the factors that shape it. This article will be very useful in that I will be able to make my own conclusions as to whether I think restorative justice should be used in cases of domestic violence based on this extensive literature. And whether I think it can be used in some cases but cannot in others.

Article 12: Braithwaite, J. (1999) Restorative justice: Assessing optimistic and pessimistic accounts, Crime and Justice, 25, 1-127

This article was used as a starting point to my research on restorative justice and the critics and supporters of it and it will be very useful to base a lot of the information on restorative justice in my essay on. It clearly outlines the ideas behind restorative justice and the many arguments for and against it. This article will also allow me to apply domestic violence ideas to the ideas presented here instead of having it done for me in an article that looks at domestic violence within the concept of domestic violence. It highlights that for restorative justice to be effective it has to be about restoring victims, restoring offenders and restoring communities, meaning that there are a whole array of things that are considered restorative justice practices. E.g. victim offender mediation, healing circles, family group conferences & restorative probation. It will be important for me to look at which process of restorative justice are most appropriate for use in cases of domestic violence and what the possible effects will be if applied. The article concludes the restorative justice should be used only in cases where it is appropriate and often in conjunction with other forms of punishment. Especially in more serious crimes such as domestic violence, where there is more potential for emotional harm to be done to the victim as a result of restorative justice practices being used.

Summary: I believe these articles are all very representative of the essay topic I have chosen. They are all very informative and have a broad spectrum of information covering all of the topic areas I wish to address in my major essay. In light of the challenge of seeking the best response to domestic violence the authors explore how understandings of restorative justice and domestic abuse intersect, and although an integration of restorative justice and domestic violence is difficult, mostly because of the complex and individually unique dynamics of domestic abuse. I have attempted to divide my research into the three main points that I will base my essay around: That is, The effects of domestic violence on women, the effects of domestic violence on the children of battered women and how restorative justice can and should be used in these instances. The research here is comprehensive and covers all of the aspects I wish to cover in my essay.

The research I have found will help me understand the effects of domestic violence on both women and their children and how they react to being treated this way while also incorporating restorative justice ideas and helping to understand when it should be implemented and when it is not an effective form of justice. While advocates of restorative justice often highlight the open-endedness of restorative justice as a strength and opportunity, critics commonly attribute this to a lack of conceptual clarity. The research I have gathered here generally shows the pros and cons of restorative justice and argues for both. Each article that addresses the idea of restorative justice may have different ideas of how restorative justice should or should not be used, however each on agrees that it should be used with caution. I have highlighted above, within my article summaries that even though researchers support the idea of restorative justice, most agrees that restorative justice is an effective method of dealing with domestic violence, however if it is to be practiced it should have regulatory frameworks in place and minimum standards in restorative justice practices should be implemented. Also, in serious crimes it should be noted that most of the researchers above agree that restorative justice be used in conjunction with other forms of punishment for the offender.


Marshall, T. (1999) Restorative justice: An overview, Home Office: London Mouzos, J. & Makkai, T. (2004) Womens experiences of male violence: Findings from the Australian component of the international violence against women survey, Research and Public policy series no.56, Australian Institute of Criminology: Canberra.

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