Healing from Sexual Violence

The Case for Vicarious Restorative Justice

by Alissa Ackerman, PhD, and Jill Levenson, PhD

Healing from Sexual Violence

Vicarious restorative justice (VRJ) is a practice that allows individuals who have experienced sexual harm to sit face to face with individuals who have perpetrated it. The concept of VRJ is not new, but it has not been utilized for healing from sexual trauma until recently. 

Healing from Sexual Violence explains what vicarious restorative justice is and how it promotes healing without retraumatizing people. It provides a solid framework for incorporating VRJ into clinical practices and communities with material on using trauma-informed approaches.

The authors include real-life examples of the power of VRJ, including their own personal stories.

Early Praise

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  1. Restorative Justice and Building Connection
    What is Restorative Justice?
    Use of Restorative Justice with Sex Crimes
    A Change in Dialogue?
  1. Making the Case for Vicarious Restorative Justice
    The Case for Vicarious Restorative Justice
  1. The Effects of Sexual Violence Disconnection
    Summary and Conclusions
  1. Sexual Violence and Disconnection
    The Etiology of Sexual Offending
    Current Sex Crimes Policies
    Summary and Conclusion
  1. Fostering Accountability
    Changing the Dialogue
    Understanding the Needs of Survivors
    Understanding the Needs of Individuals Who Have Sexually Offended
    Sex Crimes Policies Ignore the Needs of Families
  1. Using Vicarious Restorative Justice in Clinical Practice
    Conceptualization of VRJ
    Preparing Survivors of Sexual Trauma
    Preparing Offending Clients for VRJ Sessions
  1. Case Studies
    Case Study 1: Jerry
    Case Study 2: Brad
    Case Study 3: Bobby

  2. Reflections on Vicarious Restorative Justice

Safer Society Press Podcast


As a survivor of sexual violence herself, Alissa uses her personal experience and her professional expertise to bridge connections between individuals who have experienced sexual victimization and individuals who have perpetrated it.

Listen to Safer Society Press Podcast featuring Dr. Ackerman who discusses vicarious restorative justice with sexual abusers.

Jill is a widely known expert on the subject of adverse childhood experiences and trauma-informed care.

Listen to the Safer Society Press Podcast featuring Dr. Levenson who discusses how trauma-informed care should be viewed not as a treatment approach but rather as a framework for the assessment and treatment of sexual offenders.