Skip to main content

How can we help?

< Back

STOP TA Clinic 3/6/23: Restorative Justice Practices with Marsela Rojas-Salas and Jennica Sinor (ValorUS)

This STOP TA Clinic focused on Restorative Justice Practices. The conversation began with Marnie Shiels, OVW Attorney Advisor, describing RJ principles under VAWA and how it can be applied to STOP funding. Ms. Shiels encouraged administrators to identify which purpose area RJ practices could fit under and which type of funding it could fall under. For example, Ms. Shiels identified that STOP funds could be put towards RJ under Purpose Area #11 which identifies “maintaining core victim services and criminal justice initiatives … including rehabilitative work with offenders”. This is just one example of an area where RJ principles could be applied. 

Marsela Rojas-Salas and Jennica Sinor continued the conversation by discussing the definition of RJ from the perspective of RJ facilitators. While both the survivor and the person who caused harm participate in RJ, the central focus is on survivor healing. It is crucial in RJ that the person who caused harm accepts that they did cause harm; this prevents further hurt from occurring. RJ takes a different perspective from the criminal justice approach. The focus is not on what law was broken by whom but rather what harm was caused and how it can be healed. Ms. Rojas-Salas continued by describing how racial justice and restorative justice can intersect. Ms. Sinor added to the conversation by discussing some of the emotional differences between restorative practices and legal practices. Ms. Rojas-Salas and Ms. Sinor shared information regarding when and where restorative justice can be done and the different models of RJ, which do not always include a survivor and perpetrator face-to-face. The two speakers also shared examples of restorative justice and how it has impacted survivors, perpetrators, and people who have been both survivors and perpetrators of harm. This Clinic ended with time for Administrator questions and comments. 



Marsela Rojas-Salas, is a Project Manager at ValorUS (formerly the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault). She manages LEAP, a leadership development program for people of color in the anti-violence field and California Advancing PREA, a project developed to build the capacity of California rape crisis centers to build meaningful relationships with correction facilities and serve incarcerated survivors. Her previous work ranges from teaching women’s studies in higher ed, conducting research and evaluation at a museum, and serving as a bilingual and bicultural prevention educator and advocate at a culturally specific agency in Portland, Oregon.

Jennica Sinor (she/her) is a Project Coordinator at VALOR (formerly the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault.) Her primary focus at VALOR is the California Advancing PREA Project, where she supports rape crisis centers in their provision of services for incarcerated individuals.  Jennica’s experience is rooted in coordinating community-based anti-violence programs, focusing on crisis intervention, support groups and advocacy efforts with incarcerated survivors.