The guidelines offered in this monograph are grounded in more than 20 years of practical experience in the field of victim-offender mediation in North America, numerous conversations with individual victim advocates and staff members of victim advocacy organizations, and the results of the recently completed national survey of victim-offender mediation programs in the United States (appendix A). The number of VOM programs is increasing in communities throughout the country, and these guidelines will help lead to the development of the highest quality victim-sensitive mediation services possible. Considerable room, however, remains for continued experimentation in this emerging field.
These guidelines are flexible and should be adjusted to fit the cultural context of each community and the specific needs of the participating victims, offenders, and support people. The development of programs must offer a safe place for dialogue between the victim and offender that can lead to a sense of accountability and restoration for all involved.