U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Restorative Justice, Navajo Peacemaking and Domestic Violence

NCJ Number
Theoretical Criminology Volume: 10 Issue: 1 Dated: February 2006 Pages: 67-85
Donna Coker
Date Published
February 2006
19 pages
Drawing on the author’s 1999 research on Navajo Peacemaking, this article explores important criteria for the use of restorative justice (RJ) processes in domestic violence cases, pointing out the differences between Peacemaking and other practices that are said to be derived from Indigenous jurisprudence.
In the areas of victim coercion and adequate safety measures, the Navajo Peacemaking practices as found in the author’s 1999 study on Navajo Peacemaking reinforce some concerns raised by battered women’s advocates. No evidence was found that Peacemakers or liaisons routinely screen for domestic violence or ask respondents whether they feel safe attending Peacemaking. In the areas of adequate enforcement and re-offending, concern calls for additional empirical research. The author argues that restorative justice processes may be beneficial for some women who experience domestic violence if those processes meet five criteria: they prioritize victim safety over batterer rehabilitation; they offer material as well as social supports for victims; they work as part of a coordinated community response; they engage normative judgments that oppose gendered domination; and they do not make forgiveness a goal of the process. This article describes Navajo jurisprudence and the Peacemaking process. It then identifies three significant differences between Peacemaking and typical restorative justice processes, including those derived from Indigenous practices. References