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Restorative Justice as a Response to Sexual Offending – Addressing the Failings of Current Punitive Approaches

Author(s): Anne-Marie McAlinden

Journal: Sexual Offender Treatment
ISSN 1862-2941

Volume: 3;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 3;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: restorative justice | sex offender | recidivism | risk management

This article explores the use of restorative justice as a response to sexual crime. The management of high risk sex offenders, particularly in the community post-release, has been a key focus of contemporary popular and political debates on sexual offending. Many offenders fail to come to the attention of the criminal justice system. For those that do, there is the almost blanket application of recent control in the community measures such as sex offender registries and community notification which have failed to prevent reoffending. The response by the media and the public to the presence of sex offenders in the community may also impede offender rehabilitation. The use of punishment alone via formal criminal justice is, therefore, an inadequate deterrent for sexual crimes. Although controversial, this article advocates the use of restorative practices with sexual crime as a proactive, holistic response to the problem and ultimately as a more effective means of reducing the incidence of sexual offences and sex offender recidivism.

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