Substantive equality, restorative justice and the sentencing of rape offenders

Authors Amanda Spies

ISSN: 1996-2118
Affiliations: Associate Professor, Department of Public, Constitutional and International Law, University of South Africa
Source: South African Journal of Criminal Justice, Volume 29 Issue 3, p. 273 – 291


This article explores the concept of substantive equality and how, as a constitutional value, it requires the consideration and application of restorative justice principles in the sentencing of rape offenders. With sexual violence being a difficult and controversial area in which to apply restorative justice principles, there is a need to understand the necessity for its application and analyse how it has been applied by South African courts. The argument is made that restorative justice should be seen as a method that gives effect to substantive equality values, allowing for a victim’s needs and context (including that of the offender) to be taken into account in handing down a just sentence.