What are Community Accountability & Transformative Justice?

Community Accountability
Transformative Justice



What is Community Accountability?



We are told to call the police and rely on the criminal justice system to address violence within our communities.  However, if police and prisons facilitate or perpetrate violence against us rather than increase our safety, how do we create strategies to address violence within our communities, including domestic violence, sexual vioelnce, and child abuse, that don’t rely on police or prisons?

Community accountability is one critical option.  Community accountability is a community-based strategy, rather than a police/prison-based strategy, to address violence within our communities.  Community accountability is a process which a community – a group of friends, a family, a church, a workplace, an apartment complex, a neighborhood, etc – work together to do the following things :

Create and affirm VALUES AND PRACTICES that resist abuse and oppression and encourage safety, support, and accountability

Provide SAFETY AND SUPPORT to community members who are violently targeted that RESPECTS THEIR SELF-DETERMINATION

Develop sustainable strategies to ADDRESS COMMUNITY MEMBERS’ ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR, creating a process for them to account for their actions and transform their behavior.

Commit to ongoing development of all members of the community, and the community itself, to TRANSFORM THE POLITICAL CONDITIONS that reinforce oppression and violence.  ”

Community Accountability Fact Sheet

from INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, national U.S. activist organization of radical women of color advancing a movement to end violence against women of color and their communities.


image by super-illustrator Cristy Road



What is Transformative Justice?

“Transformative justice [is] a liberatory approach to violence…[which] seeks safety and accountability without relying on alienation, punishment, or State or systemic violence, including incarceration or policing.

Three core beliefs:

Individual justice and collective liberation are equally important, mutually supportive, and fundamentally intertwined—the achievement of one is impossible without the achievement of the other.

The conditions that allow violence to occur must be transformed in order to achieve justice in individual instances of violence.  Therefore, Transformative Justice is both a liberating politic and an approach for securing justice.

State and systemic responses to violence, including the criminal legal system and child welfare agencies, not only fail to advance individual and collective justice but also condone and perpetuate cycles of violence.

Transformative Justice seeks to provide people who experience violence with immediate safety and long-term healing and reparations while holding people who commit violence accountable within and by their communities.  This accountability includes stopping immediate abuse, making a commitment to not engage in future abuse, and offering reparations for past abuse.  Such accountability requires on-going support and transformative healing for people who sexually abuse.”

“Towards Transformative Justice…”, p. 5 Section One

by Generation 5, San Francisco based non-profit working to end child sexual abuse in 5 generations






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