Community Restorative Justice (RJ) Solutions is a collaborative pilot project that engages, through a community-based RJ model, victims of interpersonal violence who are seeking safety and accountability through community-based interventions rather than the traditional response of separation and arrest. In general, RJ brings together those who have harmed, their victims, and affected community members into a process that repairs harm and rebuild relationships. We come together in the belief that we as a community can address, resolve and prevent the harm of domestic violence and sexual assault through circle processes supported by the community and carried out by those most impacted by violence.
Every day, the Family Justice Center sees clients whose needs are not met by its existing services and structures.
Some victims state that they do not want to involve law enforcement because they do not want their offenders arrested. Others maintain that they have to stay in their abusive relationships for different reasons (money, children, family, etc.). Some say that they do not have problems, but their abusers do, and ask us to find solutions for their abusers. Many say that they do not want to go to shelters; they prefer staying in their homes and community. The only options available to victims are blunt law enforcement response, lengthy individual therapy that may not provide answers, or permanent separation (e.g., DV shelters or divorce); these responses do not meet the needs of many victims, particularly in marginalized communities.
Community-based, RJ responses are needed that:
1) offer more open-ended options for victims of violence;
2) encourage the participation of friends and family members who provide important support networks for marginalized victims;
3) use circle and other approaches that are more culturally appropriate for close-knit familial cultures; and 4) offer the possibility for more restorative approaches to perpetrators of violence.