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Victim Care

Restorative justice seeks to meet the needs of both victims and offenders. These articles discuss practice issues and working with victims.

Strang, Heather and Sherman, Lawrence W. The Victim's Perspective
The authors claim that victims are the forgotten players in the drama of criminal justice, exploited for their evidence but otherwise abandoned. Victims say that little attention is given to the repair of the harm they have experienced personally, or to the psychological and emotional consequences of victimisation. They also say that they feel frustrated and alienated from the justice system, where both the process and the outcome of court procedures fail to take proper account of their perspective. The authors examine how the Canberra police have introduced a radical alternative to traditional court processing, called Diversionary Conferencing, to give victims an opportunity to redress the shortcomings of the justice system from their point of view. It provides them with a forum to explain directly all the harm they have experienced as a result of the offence and to be part of the process that decides on a suitable outcome to repair that harm.
Price, Marty D.. Punishment - What's in It for the Victim? A Restorative Justice Discussion for Crime Victims and Their Advocates
A growing number of victims of severely violent crimes are finding that confronting their offender in a safe and controlled setting, with the assistance of a mediator, returns their stolen sense of safety and control in their lives. Victims (who are largely ignored by the traditional criminal justice system) have the opportunity to speak their minds and their feelings to the one who most ought to hear them, contributing to the process of healing and closure for the victim. Victims get answers to the often haunting questions that only the offender can answer. With their questions answered, victims commonly report a new peace of mind, even when the answers to their questions were even worse than they had feared or imagined.
Howard League for Penal Reform. Victims of Crime
This paper by the Howard League examines the place victims of crime have in the criminal justice system. In the past two decades the amount of media and political attention given to victims has increased immeasurably, but to what extent has this been mere lip service or a political game? Are the current mechanisms which are being constructed adequate or focused on what victims of crime want or need? The League looks at the current academic and political attention being given to the victims of crime; what services are provided for them and the role that victims may expect to have in the criminal process
Bazemore, Gordon. Crime Victims and Restorative Justice in Juvenile Courts: Judges as Obstacle or Leader?
The central role of crime victims in restorative justice creates a number of dilemmas for offender-driven justice agencies. Neither the traditional juvenile justice response to youth crime focused on the "best interests" of the child nor the new retributive emphasis provide a role for crime victims as recipients of service or participants in juvenile justice. Based on the results of focus groups with juvenile court judges and victims of juvenile crime in four states, this paper presents qualitative findings on judicial support and resistance to the idea of the victim as a "client" of juvenile justice and a coparticipant in the justice process. The implications of restorative justice for reform in juvenile courts are also examined.
Bolivar, Daniela. Community of care from a victim-perspective: a qualitative study.
Even if there has been some theoretical debate on the role of what has been called the ‘community of care’ in restorative justice (RJ) there has not been much research on, or analysis of, the implications of the role of significant others in its practice. This lack of reflection is especially evident in the case of the victims’ community of care, despite findings that would indicate a systematic lack of participation of victim’s supporters in restorative practices. Through the qualitative analysis of 35 interviews with victims of crime who consented to attend mediation (direct and indirect), an attempt to describe and discuss the characteristics of victim’s communities of care that may become relevant for the practice of RJ is made. Results indicate that, despite a victims’ need for company or support, victims tend to disclose few details about the offense, its consequences and the mediation offered as a way to protect their loved ones or to avoid possible negative reactions from their communities. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are offered. (author's abstract)
Editor. New Ways Forward; Pathways to Change National Victims of Crime Conference September 2008
A summation of what the Pathways to Change National Victims of Crime Conference September 2008 was about, focusing particularly on Dr. Jo-Anne Wemmers' keynote speech.
Choi, Jung Jin and Severson, Margaret M. "What! What kind of apology is this?": The nature of apology in victim offender mediation.(Report).
This qualitative study examined the multiple perspectives of participants' experiences of a Victim Offender Mediation (VOM) program operating in a Midwestern city. Thirty-four face-to-face interviews were conducted with 37 participants, including juvenile offenders and their parents, adult crime victims, mediators, and referral sources. The findings indicate disparities exist between the juvenile offenders and their victims in their perceptions of the genuineness of the apology delivered. The nature of apology is explored and its meaning in the restorative justice context is set out. This study provides a snapshot of the process and practice of restorative justice work. In particular, this study highlights the complicated nature of communication between and among VOM participants. Recommendations are made to improve victimsensitive restorative justice practices through the composition and delivery of the apology. (excerpt)
Lazaro, Joao and Moyano Marques, Frederico. What To Do With These Victims?
The discourse of restorative justice recognizes the balance between victims' and offenders' needs and right, but in practice many of the existing schemes are mainly geared towards the offenders' needs. The victim support community arrived late to restorative justice and has identified three main ideas concerning victims' involvement in restorative practices: a greater openness and sensitivity to the victims' needs and specificities, an increased knowledge based on in-depth evaluation and research into the participation of victims, and a greater intervention of victim support organisations. (author's abstract)
Kinnunen, Aarne. Implementing VOM in Finland – cooperation between poicy makers and practitioners
In 2006, victim-offender mediation in Finland became national and state-funded. This article is a report on what victim-offender mediation looks like in the country and what the future of it looks like.
Frank, Cheryl. Quality Services Guaranteed? A Review of Victim Policy in South Africa
In the context of significant developments in the international arena relating to the recognition of rights relating to crime victims, this monograph seeks to analyse three of the central policy efforts relating to crime victims in South Africa. The documents that are the focus of this monograph are: the Service Charter for Victims of Crime in South Africa (more commonly known as the Victims’ Charter); the draft Victim Empowerment Programme (VEP) and the National Prosecuting Authority’s draft Uniform Protocol on Victim Management (UPVM)... The monograph proceeds from the premise that measures to respond to victimisation should be based on the needs of crime victims... The international framework relating to crime victimisation is discussed, pointing particularly to the provisions in the United Nations Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power, the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child... This discussion is followed by an overview of key legislation relating to crime victimisation. The discussion of the key provisions of the three policy documents under review is prefaced by a short introduction which describes the four central reasons forwarded for the development of victim policy in South Africa. These are: crime prevention, improving criminal justice efficiency, human rights and restorative justice... The next part of the monograph seeks to provide an analysis of the three policy documents... This discussion is concluded with a description of the key tools required to aid in the implementation of victim services. The monograph is concluded with a set of recommendations. These include: rationalise victim policy and clearly articulate its importance; orientate services towards the needs of victims; improve government and civil society relations and government funding to civil society; ensure the quality of services and establish the tools and systems for managing victim policy. (excerpt)
Nancarrow, Heather and Daly, Kathleen. Restorative Justice and Youth Violence toward Parents
It is crucial to situate current debates on the appropriateness of restorative justice for partner, sexual, or family violence with a clear sense of what women like Carolyn face. Her son’s assault shares elements of partner (or ex-partner) violence, but not fully. Hers is one of three cases of sons assaulting mothers that were finalized by a conference in the second half of 2001 in Adelaide, South Australia. We analyse the three cases, describing the contexts of the violence, and what happened before, during, and after a conference. We relate the findings to the literatures on youth violence toward parents, and feminist and victim advocates’ concerns that a standard restorative justice conference cannot adequately address the unique qualities of these cases. (author's abstract)
Vazulla, Juan Carlos. The participation of the community representative in mediation involving youth perpetrators
In Brazil, the juvenile justice system includes victim-offender mediation. Now they have added a third mediator into those meetings: one that represents the community that was transgressed against.
Talbot, Mary E. . Public Responsiveness to Victim's Recommendations in their Sentencing Decisions: Role of Victim's Race, Victim Impact Statement and Judge's Instruction.
This research proposal is aimed at understanding the gap in justice between Caucasian victims and African American victims. The literature on Victim Impact Statements (VIS) provided in the penalty/sentencing phases in trials may provide some solutions to level the playing field. VIS serves as a voice for the victims or crime, and helps the jurors to see the victim as human being rather than a faceless victim. Studies have shown that the greater harm caused is related to greater blameworthiness of defendant (Feigenson, Park, & Salovey, 1997). Moreover, this research assesses whether the public supports restorative sentencing options for convicted offenders of burglary and aggravated battery, and whether this support generalizes to offenders who victimize African-American as well as Caucasian individuals. (Excerpt).
Mastrocinque, Jeanna M.. Victim Input and Satisfaction: An Analysis of Victim Personal Statements.
Beginning in 2001, England and Wales implemented the Victim Personal Statement scheme, allowing victims to provide a statement to be included in their case file expressing the physical, emotional, and financial consequences of the incident and to state what information the victim wants as the case progresses through the system. The VPS was crafted with the specific expectation that victims would not use this resource as a sentencing tool, and that victims are informed of this stipulation when providing a statement. Although there are many studies regarding victim input policies in general, few studies have assessed the Victim Personal Statement scheme, likely due to this policy being relatively new and there being limited available data. This dissertation explored three aspects of the Victim Personal Statement scheme: what incident characteristics influence victims being informed of the policy, what incident characteristics influence whether victims provide a statement, and whether providing a statement influences victims’ perceptions of how the criminal justice system responded to the reported crime. This study suggests that victim age, knowledge of the offender, perceived seriousness of the crime, and injury influence whether the police inform the victim of the opportunity to make a statement regarding the incident. Additionally, victim gender, ethnicity, perceived seriousness of the incident, and resulting injury, as well as whether the incident was racially motivated, influence whether a victim provides a statement. Finally, making a statement did not have a significant relationship with victim satisfaction regarding how the police responded to the reported incident. The implications of these findings are discussed in addition to study limitations and future research directions. (Excerpt).
Bridges to Life: A Promising In-Prison Restorative Justice Intervention
Bridges to Life is an in-prison restorative justice programme that facilitates meetings between offenders and unrelated victims. This article is drawn from a paper by Marilyn Armour, assistant professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin. The complete article is attached.
Transforming Attitudes Towards Offending
The Sycamore Tree Project® is an in-prison programme bringing unrelated victims and offenders together for conversations about crime. The programme allows them to reflect together on the consequences of crime and the steps needed to address the harm that has resulted.
Taking Victims and Their Advocates Seriously: A Listening Project.
The Listening Project sought to include the voices of victim advocates in the development of restorative justice practice. The article below is an excerpt from the report of the project with a link to the full-text. The report was written by y: Harry Mica, Mary Achilles, Ellen Halbert, Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz, and Howard Zehr. It is reprinted here by permission.
Victim Offender Meetings:A Restorative Focus for Victims
A sensitive issue for restorative justice programmes is how to approach crime victims about participating in the programmes. In this article, Eric Gilman, restorative justice coordinator for Clark County Juvenile Court, suggests that programmes should respond to victims restoratively, viewing them as people who have needs growing out of the harms they experienced in the crime, rather than simply as possible participants in a VOM process
Mika, Harry, et. al. Taking Victims and Their Advocates Seriously: A Listening Project
This report details the activities and outcomes of the Listening Project, a collaboration of professionals active in the victim community and the field of restorative justice.
Hook, Melissa And Seymour, Anne. Offender reentry requires attention to victim safety
In this article Hook and Seymour address issues concerning the rights and safety of victims when offenders leave prison and reenter societ

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