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This Article explores the viability of an alternative dispute resolution system as an alternative to the civil justice system in the area of domestic violence. It considers the implementation of a system that draws on principles of restorative justice. Such an innovation would complement the current justice system interventions with an additional avenue of recourse that allows for more flexibility and creativity.

Although restorative justice principles have been used extensively in the juvenile justice system, they have been suggested amidst much controversy as a response to intimate partner violence, and have been implemented in only an extremely limited way. The controversy evolves out of legitimate concerns, but the troubling state of the justice system’s response to domestic violence calls for considering this alternative. The Article identifies the central goals embraced in the legal system’s response to domestic violence and considers the potential of restorative justice to meet these goals.

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GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2012-136, GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2012-136

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