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Kaleidoscopic Justice: Sexual Violence and Victim-Survivors’ Perceptions of Justice

McGlynn, Clare; Westmarland, Nicole

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This article proposes a more multifaceted way of thinking about victim-survivors’ perceptions of justice; what we have termed ‘kaleidoscopic justice’. Developed from an empirical investigation with 20 victim-survivors of sexual violence, kaleidoscopic justice understands justice as a constantly shifting pattern; justice constantly refracted through new experiences or understandings; justice as an ever-evolving, nuanced and lived experience. Within this framework, a number of justice themes emerged, namely justice as consequences, recognition, dignity, voice, prevention and connectedness. This approach develops current understandings, in particular by emphasizing the fluidity of justice, as well as the centrality of prevention and connectedness in sexual violence survivors’ understandings of justice. We suggest that it is only by better understanding victim-survivor perspectives on justice, and embedding the concept of kaleidoscopic justice, that we can begin to address the sexual violence ‘justice gap’.


McGlynn, C., & Westmarland, N. (2019). Kaleidoscopic Justice: Sexual Violence and Victim-Survivors’ Perceptions of Justice. Social and Legal Studies, 28(2), 179-201.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 2, 2018
Online Publication Date Mar 8, 2018
Publication Date Apr 1, 2019
Deposit Date Feb 2, 2018
Publicly Available Date Feb 6, 2018
Journal Social and Legal Studies
Print ISSN 0964-6639
Electronic ISSN 1461-7390
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 28
Issue 2
Pages 179-201


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Copyright Statement
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (

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