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Restorative justice for domestic and family violence : hopes and fears of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian women
chapterposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Heather Nancarrow
In 2000, recommendations from two Australian taskforce investigations highlighted opposing views, seemingly reflecting a racial divide, on the utility of restorative justice as a response to domestic violence. Drawing on the literature and semi-structured interviews with Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian women, this chapter explores this apparent racial divide and seeks to explain the incongruence in the taskforce recommendations. The analysis finds the incongruence is centred on the symbolic meaning each group of women attributes to the role of the state, embodied in the criminal justice system, and differing justice objectives. While the non-Indigenous women fear that restorative justice will reinforce the dominant male paradigm, the Indigenous women are hopeful that it can overcome the limitations of the criminal justice system in achieving both gender and racial equality, though this is contingent on elements that do not exist in current restorative justice models.