In recent years, much more attention has been given to the use of restorative justice in cases of gender-based violence. Research and practice advanced hand-in-hand to identify the challenges, as well as the opportunities, on the use of restorative justice in cases of sexual violence, intimate partner violence, physical punishment, and honour-based violence, among others.

This event is the opportunity to engage in a conversation with key experts dedicated to further advance this field of application for restorative justice, actively engaged in the EFRJ Working Group on Gender-Based Violence.

This event (free of charge, but registration needed) is open to anyone interested in the topic, including those with lived-experience (i.e. survivors who are curious about or engaged in a restorative justice meeting). In particular, the Working Group on Gender-Based Violence wishes to engage into a conversation with anyone resisting or fearing the use of restorative justice in cases of gender-based violence (e.g. women’s organisations, victims’ associations).

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About the event

This webinar will serve to present the main work done and outputs produced by the WG GBV during their two-year mandate (2020-2022). Also, it will be the occasion to launch a comprehensive book recently published on this topic by some WG GBV members (Keenan & Zinsstag).

The sub-group on sexual violence and restorative justice will present the booklet we have been preparing on sexual violence and restorative justice . The booklet is a series of testimonies of survivors of sexual harm and their restorative journey. In the presentation we explore some of common themes that have emerged from all the testimonies and discuss the opportunities and challenges that can come from such a practice.The sub-group on restorative justice and domestic violence (DV) will introduce the topic and discuss different aspects, risks and opportunities that emerged in different contexts. It will also discuss the Istanbul Convention, challenges and misunderstandings. The sub-group on institutional change will present its working document on how restorative justice understands and can respond to gender based violence (GBV) by underlining the specificities of RJ dealing with these cases. An overview of the policy context of RJ and GBV will follow before concluding with sharing the work of the sub-group mainly with regard to the dialogue initiatives with women organisations.

Below, the programme of these two-hour event:

  • Welcome
  • Book presentation: Keenan, M. & Zinsstag, E. (2022). Sexual violence and restorative justice: addressing the justice gap. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Collection of 8 testimonials: presentation of the publication: Biffi, Cochrane, Millington & Zinsstag (forthcoming in 2023). From Survivors to Survivors: Conversations on restorative justice in cases of sexual violence. Leuven: European Forum for Restorative Justice.
  • Presentation Domestic Violence and Restorative Justice: Many Challenges, Maybe Possibilities?

  • Resistance/ challenges and inclusion of restorative justice in gender based violance policies: working document on how restorative justice understands and can respond to gender based violence.
  • Q&A and concluding remarks

The Working Group on Gender-Based Violence

In recent years, about 100 members of the EFRJ have been actively contributing in the work of the organisation, engaging in Committees and Working Groups. This means that one member out of four is volunteering to support the annual working plan of the EFRJ to further develop high quality restorative justice practices, policies and research in Europe and beyond.

Among others, the EFRJ Working Group on Gender-Based Violence (WG GBV) gathers together 12 experts, mostly from Europe, dedicated in better understanding and implementing the use of restorative justice in cases of sexual violence, domestic violence and other gender-based abuses. In the past two years (2020-2022), despite the challenges to start working together at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, this Working Group contributed in different ways to further advance this area of application for restorative justice. Among others, it supported the EFRJ policy work by drafting position papers to respond to EC policy strategies in the area of gender-based violence, advocating for including restorative justice as a service accessible to all victims and in all stages of criminal procedures and beyond, and it support, and it encourage the EFRJ advocacy and dissemination work by engaging in worldwide international campaigns, like the ones on Women’s Day on 8 March. In order to better make use of the individual skills and interests, the Working Group on Gender-Based Violence was divided in 3 subgroups:

  1. the one dedicated to institutional change discussed ways to engage in a dialogue with women’s and victims’ organisations, opposing the use of restorative justice in cases of gender-based violence, to identify fears and challenges and improve restorative justice practices accordingly;
  2. the one dedicated to sexual violence got in touch with restorative justice practitioners in Europe to collect stories of witnesses, i.e. people (women/ men/ non-binary) who survived sexual violence and were offered, and often participated in, a restorative justice meeting, so that these stories could speak to others who went to similar tragic life-experiences;
  3. the one dedicated to domestic violence has been examining some of the legal, policy and empirical literature on the potentialities and challenges for restorative justice in domestic violence cases and it has considered the findings alongside practice experiences to work on two papers for peer review publications currently under construction. 

After two years working together, the Working Group on Gender-Based Violence is willing to engage into a conversation on these findings and work with anyone interested in the topic.

Elina Chauvet in Cremona for Red Shoes

Practicalities & Registrations

The link to Zoom will be sent to registered participants one day prior to the event. Register now (for free).

Photo credits: "Scarpe Rosse" by "Ho visto nina volare" on
The red shoes in the square of Cremona (Italy) on 25 November 2014 were part of a public and participatory art installation of the Mexican artist Elina Chauvet.