Thursday 7 February 2013

Restorative Justice & Violence Against Women

One of our BCSTH members asked me to do some research on restorative justice and its role in cases of violence against women. Here is a summary of my research process.

1. Books - Search the BCSTH Library Catalogue

We have 4 hard copy books in the library that BCSTH members may borrow, both general and specific to violence against women. One of them is Restorative Justice for Domestic Violence Victims: An Integrated Approach to their Hunger for Healing, 2010. It has chapters on:
  • Hunger for healing : is there a role for introducing restorative justice principles in domestic violence services?
  • From domestic violence to restorative justice in domestic violence services : methodologies and analyses plans
  • Portrait of the battered women : potential for restorative justice intervention
  • Power and control dynamics in the batterer-battered relationships
  • Help-seeking patterns : are women victims or survivors?
  • How well do extant domestic violence services serve survivors? some restorative justice implications
  • A hunger for healing and closure : a case for restorative justice approaches in domestic violence services.

2. Web reports & web sites - Search the BCSTH Library Catalogue

Our catalogue if not just for books; we also select the best web resources that present a balanced view of the topic so that you can look in one place to get started on your research. There may be historical information about how restorative justice started in BC, examples of how it is being done in BC, academic theses from local universities, position papers from non-profits, as well as reports from other provincial and national bodies. Here are just a few examples:
3. Google for More Web Reports & Web Sites (We all love to Google, but I used Google's Advanced Search and restricted to Canadian links)

I love to check the BCSTH Library catalogue first because it gives me a sense of what's being published, and then I can Google for more if needed. By Googling for Canadian links, I found out:

4. Journal Article Research via Google Scholar (Free) & My Local Academic Library with a Program in Women's Studies (Not Free Stuff)

Next, I searched Google Scholar. This is a handy free database that only searches journal literature. Not all of the articles it retrieves can be freely found on the Web (some require purchase or a trip to your local university) but it will give you a sense of what is being published in the journal literature.

Google Scholar is very unsatisfying to a librarian who is used to searching sophisticated research databases, so I made the journey to my local university which has a program in women's studies. They subscribe to databases that can't be found freely on the Web. Most universities will allow you to use their electronic resources on site as a community user. The best ones for our subject area are:
  • Women's Studies International
  • PsycINFO
  • Social Sciences Index
I found several good articles, along with many more citations and abstracts that helped me to understand the scope of the research on this topic, such as this review article on Restorative Justice Models in Cases of Intimate Partner Violence: Reviewing the Evidence (not freely available online, must be purchased or obtained from a library).

My role as your BCSTH librarian is to:
  • select the best resources for you, our members, according to our collection development policy and within our budget; 
  • organize them so you can find them when you need them, through our BCSTH Library Catalogue, providing you with the URLs for web resources and lending hard copy items to you; 
  • disseminate the information through our lending service, Ask-a-Librarian, web site, blog, emails, and other ways so that you can take advantage of this great service.
I hope this example researching the topic of restorative justice gives you a peek into the world of librarians and how we can assist you in your work.

Please visit the BCSTH Library to learn more about resources and information services developed especially for members of the BC Society of Transition Houses, and contact us for more information.

Deb & Tina, Co-Librarians
BC Society of Transition Houses
Vancouver, British Columbia