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Durham University

Durham Law School

Staff profile

Publication details for Professor Clare McGlynn

McGlynn, Clare, Westmarland, Nicole & Godden, Nikki (2012). "I just wanted him to hear me": sexual violence and the possibilities of restorative justice. Journal of Law and Society 39(2): 213-240.

Author(s) from Durham


The use of restorative justice in cases of sexual violence is highly contentious. Resistance comes from those who argue that it may trivialise violence against women, re-victimise the vulnerable and endanger the safety of victim-survivors. On the other hand, from the perspective of victim-survivors, it may enable us to hear their stories more holistically; it may offer greater control, validation and may reduce victim-blaming. It may also provide an additional opportunity to secure some form of justice. Debate over the validity of these competing claims has largely taken place in an empirical vacuum. To begin to remedy this gap in our knowledge, and particularly our understanding of victim-survivor perspectives, this article considers the results of an exploratory study which investigated a restorative justice conference involving an adult survivor of child rape and other sexual abuse. The results of this case study, while necessarily tentative, provide good ground to consider afresh the possibilities of restorative justice in cases of sexual violence. We suggest that for those victim-survivors who wish to pursue this option, restorative justice may offer the potential to secure some measure of justice.