Victim Offender Mediation Association
Learn about Victim-Offender Mediation (VOM)
(1) What is VOM?
Victim Offender Mediation, also called Victim Offender Dialogue, is a face-to-face meeting, in the presence of a trained mediator, between the victim of a crime and the person who committed that crime. The practice is also called victim-offender dialogue, victim-offender conferencing, victim-offender reconciliation, or restorative justice dialogue. In some practices, the victim and the offender are joined by family and community members or others.
In the meeting, the offender and the victim can talk to each other about what happened, the effects of the crime on their lives, and their feelings about it. They may choose to create a mutually agreeable plan to repair any damages that occurred as a result of the crime.
(2) Where did it come from?
The idea of bringing together a victim of a crime and the person who committed that crime is based on age-old values of justice, accountability, and restoration. The first “Victim Offender Reconciliation Program” was started in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada in 1976; the first VORP in the United States was started in Elkhart, Indiana in 1978. In 1990, there were approximately 150 such programs; in 2000, there are more than 1200 programs world-wide.
(3) Who Benefits?
Through this process, crime victims have an opportunity to get answers to their questions about the crime and the person who committed it. They take an active role in getting their material and emotional needs met. Research indicates that victims who participate in VOM receive more restitution than those who do not and feel safer and less fearful afterwards than those who do not.
Offenders have an opportunity to take responsibility for what they have done. They learn the impact of their actions on others. They take an active role in making things right, for example, through restitution, apology, or community service. Research indicates that offenders who participate in VOM feel they were treated more fairly than those who do not, and have a higher rate of restitution completion than those who do not.
Research has found high levels of participant satisfaction in victim-offender mediation, conferencing, and circles.
Last modified March 21, 2007. Maintained by Duane Ruth-Heffelbower.
© 2012 Victim Offender Mediation Association