An increasing number of crime victims are choosing to meet face-to-face with the persons who victimized them. In such meetings victims can let offenders know how the crime affected their lives, receive answers to lingering questions, and be directly involved in holding offenders accountable for the harm they caused. Today, there are victim-offender mediation (VOM) programs in more than 300 communities throughout the United States, involving thousands of cases each year. VOM is recognized as a viable alternative to the more traditional retributive response by probation, prosecution, courts, correctional facilities, and communities. As the field of victim-offender mediation has grown extensively over the past 25 years, it has become increasingly important to conduct the process in a victim-sensitive manner.
To determine how widespread this service to victims has become and to further promote victim-sensitive mediation practices, the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) 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 to conduct the most comprehensive survey yet undertaken in the growing field of victim-offender mediation. The Center documented the results of this research in the five publications currently contained in The Restorative Justice and Mediation Collection. All five documents identify the major issues concerning victim-offender mediation programs and the promising practices developed by programs in operation. This bulletin highlights these findings, first by providing a basic description of victim-offender mediation and second by summarizing the five publications in The Restorative Justice and Mediation Collection.
OVC Bulletin, July 2000
The Restorative Justice and Mediation Collection: