TC Beirne School of Law Seminar

There is evidence that the strong state regulation of intimate partner abuse through the criminal justice system in the United States has had little or no impact on rates of domestic violence. Moreover, the criminal justice response to intimate partner violence has had a number of problematic consequences for people subjected to abuse. This seminar will explore the criminal justice system's response to intimate partner violence in the United States and consider whether restorative justice might provide different options for addressing such abuse. Restorative justice would engage those most affected by intimate partner abuse, paying particular attention to the needs of people subjected to abuse, their abusers, and their communities. A focus on abusers is an essential component of this work, given the evidence that suggests that abusers are more likely to curb their behavior when they are treated fairly and with dignity by state systems. Restorative justice might also create space for the introduction of accountability mechanisms outside of the criminal justice system, a system which, even if improved, still fails to provide a viable option for some people subjected to abuse. Although restorative justice may prove a limited alternative to the criminal justice system, and there are certainly precautions that must be taken in cases involving intimate partner violence, restorative justice offers promise as an alternative to the traditional criminal justice response.

About Fulbright Specialist Prof Leigh Goodmark

About the Fulbright specialist program

The program awards grants to U.S. faculty and professionals approved to join the Specialist Roster in select disciplines to engage in short-term collaborative projects at eligible institutions in over 140 countries worldwide. Shorter grant lengths give Specialists greater flexibility to pursue projects that work best with their current academic or professional commitments. www.cies.org/program/fulbright-specialist-program