Using Restorative Justice to Benefit Victim Survivors: Is It Possible?

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90 Minutes

Originally Aired
April 20, 2022

Cortney Fisher
Cortney Fisher, JD, PhD
Principal, Finch Strategies and Professor
University of Maryland

Although an ancient practice, restorative justice is experiencing a revival in public interest. Communities, particularly those that have been shut out of the traditional American systems of adjudicating crime, are drawn to a system which incorporates community residents into the decision-making process. If the crime is harming our community, shouldn’t we be the ones to determine who is held accountable and what that accountability looks like? While attractive at first glance, restorative justice poses a lot of questions for victims of gender- and power-based violence. Is it really in the victim/survivor’s best interest to confront an offender? Is it safe – physically or emotionally? Will the community be counted on to understand the inherent power and control dynamics of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking? How can we ensure that this process will not be more traumatizing for the victim than our system of traditional American justice? 

This session will explore what restorative justice is and what it isn’t. A special focus will be on the victim’s role in restorative justice, and how to make restorative justice work in a way that is empowering and not traumatizing for the victim-survivor.


As a result of this webinar, participants will be better able to:

  • Identify the components of restorative justice and explain restorative justice to decision-makers in their agencies. 
  • Analyze the costs and benefits of using restorative justice in their communities, either in a school-based or campus environment or in a larger community. 
  • Identify and apply methods to make restorative justice an empowering process for victim-survivors, rather than a traumatizing process. 
  • Implement the initial steps to bringing restorative justice to their community. 

With a paid registration or subscription, you are free to personally listen to this webinar, as many times as you wish. You may also excerpt or cite the material following accepted conventions. However, you may not allow other individuals to listen to this webinar without their own registration or subscription.

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