Creating a Hybrid Restorative System to Address Sexual Assault: A Comparative Study of the United States and European Criminal Justice Systems


  • Leah Rae Sparkman


Restorative, Justice, Europe, United States, Survivor, Victim, Adversarial, Punitive, Sexual Assault, Perpetrator, System, Rehabilitation, Hybrid


The current nature of how the United States handles sexual assault does not work for every case. Essentially, our criminal justice system has a one size fits all approach to all sexual assault cases (Joyce-Wojitas & Keenan, 2016). While imprisoning and punishing violent and repeat sexual assault perpetrators is certainly more than reasonable, there are cases that warrant more. Punishment centric systems inflict harm on the survivor while simultaneously ignoring any effort to reform the perpetrator into a better, functioning citizen- warranting further reformation. This paper seeks for the solution to be an adversarial-restorative hybrid system in the case of non-violent, non-repeat offenders. Adding restorative measures to create a hybrid system will function as a cushion to the process, complementing punitive measures. There are many benefits to restorative justice that this paper will explore, including mitigating revictimization and lowering recidivism rates with education. These benefits are known because European nations such as the United Kingdom and Belgium have implemented restorative systems to address sexual assault (as well as many other crimes). The conclusions in this paper will be determined by comparatively exploring these European nations systems in contrast to the United States’ system. Using European models’ strengths and failures as guidance, this paper seeks to identify a structure of restorative justice that can be implemented into the United States to address sexual assault.


Please cite this contribution as follows:

Sparkman, L.R. (2021). Creating a hybrid restorative system to address sexual assault: A comparative study of the United States and European criminal justice systems, "forsch!" - Studentisches Online-Journal der Universität Oldenburg, 1, 144 -152.






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