Marquette Law School to host Restorative Justice Conference focused on domestic violence

November 7, 2016

MILWAUKEE — Carrie Outhier Banks and Sujatha Baliga will give keynote presentations at the 2016 Restorative Justice Conference hosted by Marquette Law School, Nov. 10-11 in Eckstein Hall, 1215 W. Michigan St.

The topic of this year's conference is "Restorative Justice and Domestic Violence: Exploring Effective Pathways to Healing." The conference is designed to bring together survivors, community members, lawyers, teachers, social workers, students and others to learn about domestic violence and pathways to healing. It will explore the usage of restorative processes such as victim-offender dialogue, surrogate dialogues, and circle processes to promote accountability and healing in domestic violence cases.

Outhier Banks, the executive director and founder of the Portland, Ore.-based organization Domestic Violence Safe Dialogue, will give a keynote presentation titled, "Why Domestic Violence Surrogate Dialogues Are Needed." Baliga, the vice president and director of Oakland, Calif.-based Impact Justice's Restorative Justice Project, will present, "Centering the Wisdom, Needs, and Safety of Survivors Through Restorative Justice."

The conference continues the groundbreaking restorative justice work done by Janine Geske, a former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice who is a retired distinguished professor of law at Marquette University Law School and a member of the university's Board of Trustees.

The Law School established the Restorative Justice Initiative in 2004 to help support victims and communities in the process of healing from the effects of crime. With Professor Geske's retirement from the full-time faculty in 2014, the RJI has been combined with the Law School's other academic programs. Professor Geske, Professor Andrea Schneider and Professor Michael O'Hear collaborate to offer upper-level law students a three-day experience in restorative justice with inmates at the Green Bay Correctional Institution.

By looking at this issue through a restorative justice lens, this conference will raise awareness of the magnitude of domestic violence in our own community and generate ideas on how each of us can engage in helping repair the harm and address the social, cultural, and economic causes of the problem.

Restorative justice is a victim-centered, dialogue-based practice that strives to repair the harm caused by crimes, and its application to domestic violence is considered controversial by some. The hope is that the more stories people hear of survivors, the more people will recognize abusive behavior in others. Some argue that restorative justice provides an alternative to the unilateral notions that a woman in an abusive relationship should always leave, and some argue that it will revictimize the victim. The conference seeks to promote conversation on an issue that cuts across all segments of society.

Details of the conference's panel discussions and a full guest speaker list can be found here.

The event is at capacity, although members of the public can register for a waiting list online. Members of the media who are interested in attending should contact Chris Jenkins in the Office of Marketing and Communication at (414) 288-4745 or

Through public programming such as the Marquette Law School Poll, debates featuring candidates in significant political races, Mike Gousha's "On the Issues" conversations with newsmakers, public lectures by leading scholars and conferences on significant issues of public importance, the Law School serves as the region's leading venue for serious civil discourse about law and public policy matters.