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Opportunities for victims of crime—primarily of property offenses and minor assaults—to meet their offenders in the presence of a trained mediator have increased in communities throughout the United States. When the first victim-offender mediation (VOM) programs began in the late 1970s, only a limited number of victims in several communities participated. Today, thousands of crime victims in nearly 300 communities nationwide are involved in VOM programs. To determine how widespread this service has become and to promote victim-sensitive mediation practices, the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) within the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) provided a grant to the Center for Restorative Justice & Peacemaking (formerly the Center for Restorative Justice & Mediation), School of Social Work, University of Minnesota, in 1996.

The Center for Restorative Justice & Peacemaking conducted the largest and most comprehensive survey ever undertaken in the growing field of victim-offender mediation. Far more programs were found, at various stages of development, than had been previously estimated by both the Center and other related organizations, including the international Victim Offender Mediation Association.

This report on the results of the survey provides a brief overview of the international growth of VOM. Also included in this document are the quantitative findings that emerged from the national survey of programs in the United States and a number of themes that were gleaned from the responses to open-ended questions on the survey and from conversations with the staff from the 116 programs (out of 289 programs identified) that participated in interviews. The findings from this national survey of the field have contributed to the development of guidelines for victim-sensitive mediation practices, available in the OVC publication Guidelines for Victim-Sensitive Victim-Offender Mediation: Restorative Justice Through Dialogue.

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National Survey of Victim-Offender
Mediation Programs in the United States
April 2000
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