Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools


Victim Participation in Restorative Processes

Articles on the impact on victims of their participation in restorative justice meetings.

Manozzi, Grazia. "Parallel Mediations:" Why Organised Crime Tends to "Mediate" Conflict and to Reject Institutional Victim-Offender Mediation
The article describes the phenomenon in Italy of mafia bosses organizing mediation conferences for warring parties at the behest of the police. It contrasts the differences in style between penal mediation and mafia style mediation and concludes with some of the implications for both types of mediation.
Umbreit, Mark S. Victim-Offender Mediation With Violent Offenders: Implications for Modification of the VORP (Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program) Model
Initially begun in Kitchner, Ontario, in the mid-1970's and then introduced in the United States in 1978, Victim-Offender Reconciliation Programs (VORP's) are now operating or being developed in approximately 100 U.S. communities. In VORP's offenders and victims are brought face-to-face with a trained mediator to express feelings, answer questions, and negotiate restitution. VORP was designed for use with nonviolent property crimes involving a restitution obligation. The findings reported in this paper, however, indicate the VORP model is equally if not more appropriate for selected violent crimes. Drawing on a fundamental element of the model, that of promoting reconciliation and healing within a context of viewing crime as relational, consideration should be given to modifying the VORP model to encompass some victims and offenders involved in violent crime. This initiative should include appropriate training for the mediators who will be involved.
Brown, Kathy and Vos, Betty and Umbreit, Mark S and Coates, Robert B. Victim Offender Dialogue in Crimes of Severe Violence A Multi-Site Study of Programs in Texas and Ohio
The authors of this study observe that an increasing number of victims of sexual assault, attempted homicide, and survivors of murder victims are requesting the opportunity to meet the offender to express the full impact of the crime upon their life, to get answers to questions they have, and to gain a greater sense of closure so as to move forward in life. A number of states in the United States are developing protocols for allowing such an encounter between a victim or survivor of violent crime and the offender. This study examines the development and impact of the programs in Texas and Ohio that work with cases of severe violence, including homicide. The report includes a summary of key findings, an explanation of the research method, statistics and participants’ responses, and analysis of the findings. According to the authors, the data that emerged from the study indicates that many of the principles of restorative justice can be applied in crimes of severe violence in terms of both healing the victim and holding the offender accountable.
University of Minnesota, Center for Restorative Justice and Mediation. Restorative Justice: Victim Empowerment Through Mediation and Dialogue.
The criminal justice system tends to be offender-driven. As a component of restorative justice, victim-offender mediation is designed to hold offenders accountable and to allow for victim input and involvement. Interviews with victims who have participated in victim-offender mediation are presented in which victims of burglary, home vandalism, and gang intimidation discuss their fears and frustrations. Benefits of victim-offender mediation are noted, including the positive impact on both victims and offenders of face-to-face contact, victim empowerment, greater victim satisfaction with the criminal justice system, reduced fear of revictimization, and an increased sense of fairness.
Pemberton, Antony and Groenhuijsen, Marc S. and Winkel, Frans-Willem. Evaluating Victims Experiences in Restorative Justice
This article is an attempt to contribute to the further understanding of the effects of restorative justice conferencing on victims. Taking Strang and Sherman's research as a starting point, it discusses various issues relating to research and theory of victims within restorative justice. (author's abstract)
Fellegi, Borbala. Explaining the impact of restorative justice: the '4-way interaction' of morality, neutralisation, shame and bonds
"This study will discuss whether these concepts and their possible interconnections can help us to understand the impact of restorative justice, and if so, how. Although any analysis of restorative justice should be at least as much about the victim as about the offender, the current article intends to focus mostly its impact on wrongdoers. Hence, it necessarily reflects only on some issues within restorative justice." (abstract)
Editor. Victims’ Perceptions of Fairness and Victim Offender Mediation.
Many studies have shown that victims who participate in restorative processes are highly satisfied that justice has been done. What about those processes contributes to this perception? This article is based on a paper from the Fall 2006 issue of the journal Applied Psychology in Criminal Justice.
Fraley, Stephen. The Meaning of Reconciliation for Prisoners Serving Long Sentences.
Prisoners who are serving long-term sentences face a unique challenge once they seek to reconcile with those whom they have harmed. This might be with the persons directly affected by an act of violence or the families and friends of the prisoner. There are few opportunities for prisoners to engage in victim-offender mediation programs while they are serving their sentences. Prisoners, therefore, must reach out to the extent possible to all those who are willing to reconcile in some way - the victim of the crime in question and those associated with the victim as well as family members and friends - so that the period of imprisonment can be a form of personal transformation as well as restorative community-building.
Pelikan, Christa. Victim-Offender Mediation in Austria
Pelikan notes that Austria has a reputation as a conservative society with a punitive orientation in criminal justice. Yet through the 1980s and 1990s Austria has become a pioneer and leader in the field of victim-offender mediation. Pelikan details the conditions, innovations, and legislation that effected this transformation. The impetus came from a debate about juvenile justice in Austria, leading to changes in responding to offences through conflict resolution, with resolutions that could include victim-offender mediation, comprehensive compensation and reconciliation, and community service. The changes involved administrative arrangements, legislation, and experimental projects. Eventually, proposals were made to extend these changes to the general criminal justice system, including adult offenders and very serious offenses. This took considerable time and effort. Opposition came, for example, from the conservative sector and from the women’s movement (which, while supporting many aspects of the proposed changes, sought to exclude domestic violence cases from this approach based on victim-offender mediation as against established criminal prosecution). In time, though, legislation was enacted that began a process of moving the Austrian criminal justice system toward restorative alternatives, as seen in victim-offender mediation processes and outcomes. Pelikan details the legal context for mediation and mediators, policy and implementation structures and processes, and mediation programs in Austria. In the latter part of this paper Pelikan presents research statistics on the number of cases handled by mediation, types of offenses, characteristics of offenders, and outcomes.
Liebmann, Marian. Mediation in context.
Mediation in Context serves as an introduction to mediation in general and to various forms of mediation, established and emerging. The introduction by the editor surveys the recent rise of mediation, as well as key terms, benefits, and processes. Succeeding chapters, written by theorists and practitioners in the field, deal with specific areas of mediation: families; schools; urban neighborhoods; rural communities; victim-offender mediation; family group conferencing in criminal justice settings; the workplace and commerce; health care; elder care; environmental decision making; and large-scale violence. At the end of the book is a significant bibliography for further reading. There is also a list of national mediation organizations in the United Kingdom.
Michael Kilchling and Hartmann, Arthur. "The Development of Victim/Offender Mediation in the German Juvenile Justice System from the Legal and Criminological Point of View."
The theoretical introduction shows that mediation in Germany is different from models such as, e.g., conferencing in Australia. The development of VOR in Germany is then reported in an account of three studies. The first is a report on the official court statistics. According to these statistics, compensation and mediation/VOR are still rather rare phenomena in Germany. The second study is a survey of the VOR projects collecting data on implementation and caseload. It turned out that in 1996 about 9000 VOR cases (offenders) had been dealt with. But the numbers of VOR cases differ considerably from region to region. Most projects have not more than 20 cases a year whereas a small number of projects with high caseloads deals with the majority of all VOR cases. The third evaluation is a documentation of VOR cases of 42 projects. This study reveals that more than 70% of VOR cases concern violent crimes. The acceptance of VOR among victims and offenders is still high.
Zehr, Howard and Umbreit, Mark S. Victim Offender Reconciliation: An Incarceration Substitute?
This study reports on the Victim Offender Reconciliation Program (VORP) operated by PACT, Inc. in Indiana and Ohio. In 1981, 180 cases were referred to VORP in Elkhart, Indiana, 85 percent of them involving juvenile offenders and 86 percent representing felony convictions (with theft and burglary the most common offenses). Nearly 70 percent resulted in restitution agreements. More than 75 percent of agreed-upon restitution is actually paid, an unusually high rate attributed to a higher level of personal accountability experienced by the offender. VORP can serve as a partial or total substitute for jail or prison incarceration, but care must be taken to avoid swamping the program with petty misdemeanor cases that would not otherwise lead to incarceration.
Umbreit, Mark S. Victim Offender Mediation in Urban/Multi-Cultural Settings.
Literature is reviewed on the use of mediation with blacks, Hispanics, and Americans Indians. Recent experience with victim-offender mediation in urban areas such as St. Louis (MO), Milwaukee, (WI), and Minneapolis, (MN) suggests several strategies to use in developing programs: targeting specific neighborhoods, use of co-mediators, use of follow-up victim-offender meetings, use of neutral community facilities, and possible use of victim-offender mediation with certain violent crimes. Appendices include an outline of key issues related to mediation involving blacks and whites, a sample training agenda for use in urban settings, suggestions for developing videotapes for training mediators in urban/ethnic communities, and the Cross-Comparison of Ethnic Perspectives for Mediators developed by Folberg and Taylor.
Palenski, J.E. and H.M. Launer. Mediation: Contests and Challenges.
Ten papers discuss the compatibility of mediation with the dominant norms and values of American culture, the effectiveness of mediation in resolving conflicts, changes in the use of mediation, and ways of sustaining mediation's use into the future. Articles that examine the compatibility consider how the institutional, organizational, and interpersonal levels of society accommodate the practice of mediation. Articles pertaining to the effectiveness focus on power imbalances in dispute resolution and the success of mediation in addressing domestic violence. Two articles on changes discuss New York's statewide mediation program. Articles pertaining to the continuity suggest how attorney resistance to mediation can be reduced and examine how the mediation of student conflicts in a New Jersey school district has been used.
Barnes, B. E and Adler, P. S. Mediation and Lawyers: The Pacific way: A View from Hawaii
This paper describes Hawaii's experiences with neighborhood justice centers, particularly in environmental and divorce disputes, mediation in China and Japan, and attorney's involvement with mediation processes. The paper discusses how these techniques apply to Hawaii and possibly should be formalized as standard procedures. The Makiki Justice Center is described as a model of mediation that encompasses community issues, family disputes, and environmental problems. Evaluations have consistently shown high rates of success and satisfaction by those using the Center's services, with 85 percent of all cases reaching mediation being settled. A cost-benefit analysis of the Neighborhood Justice Center is supplied.
Lind, Eleonore. Cooperation between agencies to facilitate VOM – the Swedish experience
The objective of this workshop is to identify prejudices and misperceptions concerning VOM within the judicial system, which can hinder an effective implementation of mediation in criminal cases and to find ways to increase the cooperation with our working agencies. We do not mean only police officers, prosecutors and judges, but also the social sector and the prison and probation authorities. When discussing these questions we have to keep in mind that the initial incorporation of mediation in criminal cases varies from country to country, due to cultural, socioeconomic and historical background. (excerpt)
Err, Lydie. Family Mediation and Equality of the Sexes
Equality of the sexes must be guaranteed in family mediation as in family justice systems in general. Individual rights must not be sacrificed to cost-effectiveness or the trend towards alternative conflict resolution methods. Neither sex should be disadvantaged in family mediation because of power imbalances: be it because one party has suffered abuse, is unable to fully present its points of view (e.g. because of drug/alcohol dependency or mental health issues), or is emotionally or financially at a disadvantage (e.g. because one party has looked after the children and not worked outside the home). When patently unfair agreements are reached during family mediation resulting from these power imbalances, they must not be endorsed by the mediator or approved by a judge. (excerpt)
Anonymous. Seminar with National Specialised Bodies to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination on Mediation and Other Forms of Dispute Resolution in Cases of Racism and Racial Discrimination: Report
The aim of this seminar was to provide specialised bodies with a theoretical and methodological framework in the field of mediation. At the same time the seminar also addressed other methods of dispute resolution, in order to provide specialised bodies with further tools to make informed decisions on which method of dispute resolution is the most effective and appropriate when they are confronted with cases of racism and racial discrimination. Special emphasis was put on the exchange of good practices, including concrete case studies in this field. (excerpt)
Young, Paula M.. A Connecticut Mediator in a Kangaroo Court?: Successfully Communicating the "Authorized Practice of Mediation" Paradigm to "Unauthorized Practice of Law" Disciplinary Bodies
This article uses the story of a family mediator who was taken to court over the charge of 'unauthorized practice of law' in Connecticut to illustrate the legal challenges of mediation in what the author describes as a limited infrastructure favoring lawyers over mediators.
Torzs, Edit and Fellegi, Borbala. Internal and external communication of VOM in Hungary
The starting questions for the first two presentations about the Hungarian system were the following: how to improve the efficiency of a centrally structured VOM service? How to develop the methodological and communicational aspects of mediation after not more than 1.5 year of practice? How to concretise some changes in the professional culture of a Central European country having strong centralised and legalistic legal traditions? (excerpt)

Document Actions

Restorative Justice Online - Featured Video

Restorative Justice Library Search

Search 11427 publications on restorative justice