"Restorative Justice and Violence Against Women"


Associate Professor James Ptacek of the Sociology Department is the editor of the book Restorative Justice and Violence against Women, which considers both the dangers and potential benefits of using restorative justice in cases of violence against women.

Despite significant accomplishments over the past 35 years, antiviolence activists know that justice for most abused women remains elusive. Most victims do not call the police or seek help from the courts, making it crucial to identify new ways for survivors to seek justice.

Restorative justice

Informal, dialogue-based practices, referred to as "restorative justice," seek to decrease the role of the state in responding to crime and increase the involvement of communities in meeting the needs of victims and offenders. Restorative justice is most commonly used to address youth crimes and generally is not recommended for cases of rape, domestic violence, and child sexual abuse.

The contributors to Restorative Justice and Violence Against Women include antiviolence activists and scholars who introduce a wide range of perspectives, offering rich descriptions of new programs that combine restorative justice with feminist antiviolence approaches. The theoretical perspectives and vivid case descriptions presented here are invaluable tools for creating new ways for abused women to find justice.

Editor's work on problem of violence

Ptacek, who is on the faculty of the Women's Health graduate program, has been working on the problem of men's violence against women for more than twenty-five years. He has pursued this work in a variety of roles: as a batterers' counselor; a researcher; a teacher; and a trainer on institutional responses to domestic violence. His current work addresses the class dimensions of intimate violence and applications of restorative justice to violence against women and children.

"Ptacek has tapped some of the most thoughtful scholars and activists to provide an explicitly feminist analysis of the use of restorative justice and other new anti-violence strategies in response to violence against women," said Donna Coker, a professor of Law at the University of Miami. "The result is a book that demonstrates the importance of race, immigration status, and class in understanding women's experiences of violence and in developing the responses that are necessary to stop the violence. This book is a must-read for violence against women scholars and activists, for community organizers concerned with broad issues of racial and gender justice, and for RJ proponents."

Book signing

A book signing with Ptacek will be held from 7-9 p.m. Tuesday Oct. 27, 2009, in the Amenities Room on the First Floor of the Stahl Building, 73 Tremont St., Boston.


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Greg Gatlin

Mariellen Norris