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Title:Restorative justice and campus sexual harm: A qualitative study of the views of victim advocates
Author(s):Storm, Rachel Lauren
Director of Research:Lyubansky, Mikhail
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Brown, Ruth Nicole
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Allen, Nicole; Ginsburg, Rebecca
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Educational Policy Studies
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):restorative justice
transformative justice
sexual harm
campus sexual misconduct
feminist praxis
victim advocates
student discipline
gender-based violence
anti-violence movement
Abstract:Restorative and transformative justice are divergent theories of justice representing critical departures in the framing and redress of harm and wrongdoing. Restorative justice is rooted in the philosophy that violence and wrongdoing should be approached in a way that centers harm and its impact on communities and individuals through the use of dialogic agreements of what actions could be taken to repair, redress, or provide steps towards healing. The various modalities of restorative practices to address harm bring together those impacted—those who committed harm, those harmed, and the community—to work towards healing and accountability. Many restorative practices are considered ancestral practices displaced by colonization. Digging deeper toward the social situatedness of harm, transformative justice theorizes that to truly prevent and address harm, one must look to the social and systemic roots of harm itself to identify the conditions that enabled the harm to occur and the collective work necessary to move towards deeper social healing for all. In that sense, transformative theories of justice require a theoretical pivot in the West away from individualism and towards collective responsibility, its practices deliberately situated within communities and outside of state and institutional interventions. Within institutions, restorative practices have made their way to courtrooms, diversion programs, schools, and reentry programs. In the United States, restorative practices are increasingly used in primary and secondary schools and universities, but until recently, their usage within the context of higher education had been limited to “minor” violations or offenses that impact campus climate. As heightened attention to the problem of campus sexual violence and the inadequacies of the current campus response has given way to new federal mandates, institutions of higher education are re-examining their response protocol, revising policies, and introducing new resources to ensure federal compliance. Higher education institutions are increasingly examining what restorative justice offers campus policy, particularly in the wake of sweeping changes to Title IX guidance. In this research study, qualitative semi-structured interviews conducted with victim advocates and feminist practitioners at colleges, universities, and community-based advocacy centers across the United States are analyzed through an intersectional feminist lens in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses of existing campus policies in responding to campus sexual harm and compile recommendations for use in the development of restorative programs to address sexual misconduct, gathered through the unique lens of the campus victim advocate. Further, this study offers an analysis of critical tensions within contemporary anti-violence work, underscoring the possibilities and limitations of cultivating accountability, healing, and transformation in the wake of campus sexual harm.
Issue Date:2020-12-03
Rights Information:Copyright 2020 Rachel Storm
Date Available in IDEALS:2021-03-05
Date Deposited:2020-12

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