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Family group conferences are an exciting development
in the field of restorative justice. They open up new opportunities for
crime victims to become directly involved in imposing sanctions on the
offender. As with all innovations, however, potential pitfalls must be
considered. Good ideas and programs may have unintended consequences.
Particularly as a new program concept or model is being widely promoted,
there is a danger of falling into a "one size fits all" perspective. Victim-offender
dialogue, whether through victim-offender mediation or family group conferencing,
has the potential for both benefits and risks. The intervention must be
adapted to the specific context and needs of the individuals involved.
Some cases might warrant family group conferencing rather than involve
a much smaller group of people through victim-offender mediation. Other
needs expressed by crime victims may suggest that victim-offender mediation
is more appropriate. Some more serious cases may even require both: first
the smaller mediation session and then, later, the larger conferencing
session. It is hoped that those involved in victim advocacy, family group
conferencing, and victim-offender mediation will continue the dialogue
as new opportunities are sought for restorative justice in our communities
and the available options and services for crime victims are expanded.
| Family Group Conferencing:
Implications for Crime Victims
|The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.