Responding to Animal Crimes Through a Restorative Justice Approach

Responding to Animal Crimes Through a Restorative Justice Approach
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Module 1
Recorded on: 2022-03-24
Unit 1 Recording: Responding to Animal Crimes Through a Restorative Justice Approach
Unit 2 Transcript: Responding to Animal Crimes Through a Restorative Justice Approach
Unit 3 Workbook: Responding to Animal Crimes Through a Restorative Justice Approach
Unit 4 Recording: Responding to Animal Crimes Through a Restorative Justice Approach

Restorative justice can be traced back to traditions and justice systems of indigenous and pre-industrial societies where interactions and relationships between the victim and offender as community members may be inevitable for the rest of their lives. In current times, restorative justice is getting increasing attention in legal systems across the world as a victim-focused alternative or supplementary legal mechanism. This webinar walks us through the advantages of implementing a restorative justice approach, particularly in animal crimes.

This webinar’s instructors are Jessica Chapman and David Rosengard. Jessica is a Criminal Justice Program Fellow at the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) where she works with stakeholders across the criminal justice system to address animal cruelty. Meanwhile, David is a Senior Staff Attorney at the ALDF who works to pursue justice on behalf of animal cruelty victims by recognizing animals’ legal status and providing them with the services to be represented in legal cases.

Specifics of the discussion are about:

  • The different goals of criminal justice systems as it relates to the victims, the offender, and the society, and how each of these elements can be prioritized differently.
  • The definition of restorative justice and how it is used as a methodology to address offenses committed,
  • The origins of restorative justice across cultures and its objective to resolve conflict, restore relationships, utilize collective input and mediation, and provide justice that heals all parties and the community.
  • The two main differences between restorative and retributive justice.
  • The elements within restorative justice and its application into western legal systems which provides:
    • A flexible and purely voluntary approach beyond the punitive western systems.
    • A new perspective that prioritizes healing, compassion, and maintaining positive relationships.
    • A method to achieve well-being and wholeness for victims, offenders, and communities.
  • The three questions that restorative justice aims to determine.
  • The various ways that restorative justice is being utilized within the United States and Internationally.
    • A glimpse into how New Zealand is integrating restorative justice into its legal procedure.
    • The guidelines by which restorative justice is applied in the US legal system.
    • The value of training, funding, and accreditation In facilitating a more effective and efficient restorative justice model.
    • The four primary models of restorative justice being utilized.
  • What restorative justice can provide in the context of animal cruelty in terms of:
    • Recognizing animals as victims and the bond between humans and animals.
    • Providing animals a voice and a seat at the table in determining outcomes for these cases.
    • An option to resolve the root cause of cruelty when fines, bans, and carceral options are inapplicable or ineffective.
    • Benefits for the animal victim in terms of recognizing their legal status as victims and ensuring that their needs are central to the conversation.
  • Applying restorative justice in animal cruelty cases in the same fashion as that of murder cases where the victim cannot testify and communicate their thoughts.
  • The key role of other people involved in the incident or case in conveying what the victim experienced, how it affected the victim, and what can be done to alleviate if not reverse the adverse outcomes.
  • A rundown of the different ways that a restorative justice framework can benefit victims, offenders, legal systems, communities, and efforts to build compassion, reduce recidivism, and increase rehabilitation.

Questions raised by the webinar attendees are about:

  • References and guides to help communities and justice systems to integrate restorative justice within their legal procedures.
  • The options and outcomes when involved parties do not want to participate in a restorative justice procedure.
  • Specific cases where a restorative justice approach would be most beneficial in an animal cruelty case.


Webinars in this Series with the ALDF include:

Or, click here to register and view other Animal Welfare webinars and recordings on the JCH website. 



Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • This was an excellent webinar. I would like more webinars on this topic and on animal welfare/rights and restorative justice in general. — Valerie
  • incredibly important webinar. I am familiar w/RJ but never in the animal cruelty context & its ability to give perp a better understanding of the victim’s perspective and to develop compassion. really need much more on this topic for further development of how to organize animal welfare/activist advocates, courts, D.A.’s, and LEO’s to implement these programs. This was a 100- star presentation, rather than a 10-star. — Marie Louise
  • I have learned so much from every webinar I have seen from Justice Clearinghouse…excellent, excellent. Keep up the good work! — Teresa
  • The speakers were extremely well informed and did a good job of explaining restorative justice in general, as well as in relation to animal crimes. It was a good reminder of the various means available to address and prevent animal cruelty that extend beyond the means we’ve become accustomed to relying on. — Emily



Founded in 1979, the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s mission is to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. The Animal Legal Defense Fund accomplishes this mission by filing high-impact lawsuits to protect animals from harm, providing free legal assistance and training to prosecutors to assure that animal abusers are held accountable for their crimes, supporting tough animal protection legislation and fighting legislation harmful to animals, and providing resources and opportunities to law students and professionals to advance the emerging field of animal law.





This webinar has been certified by the National Animal Care & Control Association and is approved for 1 Continuing Education Unit. Please refer to your NACA membership portal for current CEU submission process. Current NACA Members who attend the live presentation or watch the recording will be able to download a jointly issued attendance certificate that includes the National Animal Care & Control Association logo. Visit the NACA training page for a complete list of future trainings.




This webinar has been pre-approved by the Maine Animal Welfare Program for 1 Continuing Education Unit for the State of Maine’s ACO annual training. You can find more information about Certification, required annual training or submitting materials for credit at Maine’s Animal Control Officer Resource Page.





Additional Resources
2 years ago
After the Webinar: Responding to Animal Crimes through a Restorative Justice Approach. Q&A with the Presenters
Webinar presenters Jessica Chapman and David Rosengard answered a number of your questions after the […]
3 years ago
Animal Cruelty Investigations and the 4th Amendment
People love animals. Sometimes the role of animals for their humans are so valuable that humans depe […]
4 years ago
Animals as Victims: Charging and the Law
Cases on animal cruelty or neglect can be difficult to investigate or prosecute. Lack of knowledge a […]
5 years ago
Restorative Justice & Victim Offender Dialogue
The concept of Restorative Justice may seem new and unfamiliar for most people, but this system’s […]
5 years ago
Restorative Justice Intervention Program: a Case Study
The Restorative Justice model aims to resolve juvenile offenses/cases by ensuring responsibility of […]