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date: 26 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This essay examines the use of restorative justice in sexual offending. Restorative forms of intervention have been used in cases of 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 notion of ‘reintegrative shaming’ that seeks to reintegrate offenders into the community. The essay sets out and seeks to counter arguments against using restorative justice for sex crimes. For the most part, restorative justice has not reached its potential as a full-fledged sentencing rationale and has not been used in more serious cases. The essay examines barriers to restorative justice in contemporary penal policy and highlights some of its controversial applications, including those related to clergy sexual abuse.

Keywords: clergy sexual abuse, intervention, policy, restorative justice, sexual offending

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