This research examines – through policy analysis and semi-structured interviews – the possibilities and limitations of a restorative justice framework in addressing sexual violence among secondary school students. For policy analysis, the research looks specifically at three components of responding to sexual harm as detailed in the 2011 Dear Colleague letter and the 2020 new Title IX regulations: mediation, supportive measures, and confidentiality. After an analysis of key existing and potential institutional responses to sexual harm, the research turns to semi-structured interviews with restorative justice practitioners around Washington, DC to ask how – if at all – restorative justice practices could intervene in current structures for responding to sexual harm among secondary school students. This research is rooted in an intersectional, anti-oppression framework that seeks to imagine ways for all survivors of violence – particularly the most marginalized and silenced – to access justice and hold those who commit sexual harm accountable, in a manner informed by their unique and intersectional needs. Ultimately, by understanding current and potential policy systems that guide how institutions address sexual harm among students and their communities, this research proposes that there are more just and equitable alternatives to this work that protect the most vulnerable students and center the needs of the most harmed.
As a result of this webinar, participants will be better able to:
- Describe the impact of key components of current Title IX legislation and the proposed new rules for survivors of sexual harm in secondary schools.
- Identify ways in which current and proposed federal policies re-traumatize and silence marginalized students who experience sexual harm.
- Define restorative justice and imagine possibilities and limitations in responding to sexual harm through this framework as opposed to a strictly policy response.
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