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Restorative justice for perpetrators of domestic violence.

(18 Posts)
FrickingFedUp Tue 30-Apr-13 21:48:46

Was listening to radio 4 today. Apparently restorative justice, intended to allow perpetrators of minor crimes to apologise to victims, pay compensation or pay for damage caused and avoid a criminal record, is being inappropriately used in cases of domestic violence.

Even the man who was behind initially implementing the scheme said he was horrified it is being used in DV, as it was never intended for this purpose. It relies on the victim giving consent to the process, and he quite rightly commented that the consent of a victim of domestic violence cannot be seen to reliably reflect their true wishes. I haven't had a chance to look in to the story more, but my instinct is that this is appalling, and that giving men who abuse their wives the option to simply say sorry and get away scot free, whilst sending the message to women that they should accept their apology in lieu of the perpetrator receiving a proper punishment is a terrible idea. It sends out the message that prosecuting for DV is not worth spending money on, and that the perpetrators can be rehabilitated just like that.

Very damaging IMO. Anyone else know any more about this?

NiceTabard Tue 30-Apr-13 21:59:14

There was something about this on the bbc today

I was surprised that they hadn't done this for anyone accused of sexual offences (although obviously the DV cases could well have involved that). So I'm not sure about the stats TBH. Although I know some forces like to "no crime" sex offences. Maybe they knew that would look even worse.

Don't know.

Whole thing stinks though.

NiceTabard Tue 30-Apr-13 22:02:33

guardian take on it

FrickingFedUp Tue 30-Apr-13 22:06:25

Yeah I realise I probably need more info to form a proper opinion on this, it may have just been sensationalised to make it newsworthy, but if it is true then you're right - it really does stink.

Fair play to the guy they interviewed though - he seemed to really get why this is an appalling idea in cases of dv.

Let's just hope this practice is stamped out quick. Police backing up "heartfelt" apologies from an abusive man is dangerous. These men never have any problems apologising do they, it is the not doi g it again but that they struggle with. sad

FrickingFedUp Tue 30-Apr-13 22:09:36

Funny that the article you linked to doesn't mention dv, it was definitely raised in the radio article today. I wonder how many of the victims of these violent crimes are women?

NiceTabard Tue 30-Apr-13 22:13:05

Sounds like the person who had this idea it was sort of like kids in the 50s being taken around to apologise to someone for a spot of minor vandalism, that sort of thing.

It is being used totally inappropriately and the problem is of course that forces will always want to make their figures look good and this is a tool in doing that.

Reading the bbc article again:

"Incidents classed as serious violence by the House of Commons library in its analysis include:

Grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent
GBH without intent
Assault occasioning actual bodily harm
Malicious wounding
Wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm
Use of substance or object to endanger life"

I would like to know if these are the only crimes that were looked at as part of this FOI request.

FrickingFedUp Tue 30-Apr-13 22:13:22

Oh apologies, the guardian article says that 2225 cases were domestic violence sad.

That number is huge. How appalling. I thought that once an act of domestic violence is brought to the police attention, it is out of the victims hands and they cannot choose to drop the charges? Yet now they are being encouraged to accept an apology and move on?! Really bad.

OddSockMonster Tue 30-Apr-13 22:19:52

That's really shocking.

iheartdusty Tue 30-Apr-13 22:27:18

And what an open ticket for manipulative emotional abusers.

Sunnywithshowers Tue 30-Apr-13 23:21:20

Because no abuser has ever, ever said sorry the morning after, have they? Poor old abusers with their crocodile tears.


YoniBottsBumgina Tue 30-Apr-13 23:28:23

That's horrendous. I like the idea of restorative justice but it's totally and uttel inappropriate and actually dangerous in cases of DV. Anyone with the slightest understanding of DV knows that abusers were born to make heartfelt apologies - they could make a living out of it. Ridiculous and stupid to take these at face value, not to mention the excellent point about victims not being freely able to truly agree.

kohl Tue 30-Apr-13 23:34:19

I volunteer in the restorative justice field and it is an absolute that it is never appropriate for instances of domestic violence or sexual violence. It horrifies me that rj has been so utterly misused in this way.

WrenNatsworthy Tue 30-Apr-13 23:48:28

I work for the youth offending service and have received extensive training in RJ. RJ is NOT supposed to be about apologising and getting away with it in order to avoid a criminal record. There are many ways that RJ can be carried out but the whole point is that both the 'harmer' and 'harmee' (criminal / victim) make an agreement about how that happens.

In cases of DV it may be ( and certainly will be) that the only restorative process is that the perpetrator agrees to leave the victim alone. And that's IT. A letter of apology would only be deemed appropriate if the victim was willing to read it. Or the criminal could write one but it would never get sent.

RJ, done properly, can prevent reoffending and make huge changes. But it seems it has been totally misunderstood.

Forcing someone to make an apology and assuming it is accepted is NOT RJ.

WrenNatsworthy Tue 30-Apr-13 23:50:49

Oh and Community Resolution orders and RJ are both completely different things.

ThatVikRinA22 Tue 30-Apr-13 23:58:51

as a police officer i know that in my force RJ for domestics would never be allowed to happen.

we have to deal with DV very positively. RJ would not be authorised. That said, i hate that all discretion is being taken away from the person dealing with the incident.

i had one incident recently where i was compelled to arrest a woman, who had committed an incidence of "violence" against her cheating husband who had flaunted his affair in front of her face, she reacted, causing an injury to him which had actually been accidental.(she threw something that hit him) RJ would have worked for her, and him. But not allowed. There are times when common sense and discretion would be welcome. When people see domestic violence they think of the stereo type.
its not always that cut and dried.

Sunnywithshowers Wed 01-May-13 00:23:36

Vicar my cynicism is reserved for shits like my dad and my XH who were champion apologisers. Even as a child I knew my dad was sorry for being caught, not for smacking the shit out of my mum.

I agree that it's hard for the cases like the one you've described. sad

FrickingFedUp Wed 01-May-13 06:40:10

Thanks wren for that extra info, I was slightly wary about making snap judgements about it based in one radio 4 programme! I'm pretty certain they did call it restorative justice on the radio so perhaps they got their terms wrong, and they did refer to measures such as issuing an apology and paying for damaged property etc. but I realise that things can get twisted and taken out of context in the media.

Just that my instinctive reaction was no way! Perhaps because it reminds me of when exp would smash up my things, but then because he apologised profusely, bought me flowers and paid to replace things he'd broken the next day it was meant to make it ok. sad

So my outlook on it may be a bit scewed I admit!

NiceTabard Wed 01-May-13 17:21:11

the articles are talking about community resolutions, and state that the figures do not include people where restoative justice was used.

don't know if that affects anybody's thoughts?

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