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

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2000
32 pages
This survey report contains information on the characteristics of various victim-offender mediation (VOM) programs operating throughout the United States and major issues facing these programs in the course of their daily operations.
The survey was initiated in 1996, and the survey methodology involved obtaining lists of actual or potential programs from various organizations. Using this approach, 289 VOM programs were identified, and the vast majority of programs involved private agencies. Certain themes emerged from interviews with program staff. Community context was a significant factor in the development of VOM programs, VOM programs frequently operated in relative isolation from other programs, and VOM programs were being asked to mediate crimes of increasing severity and complexity. The preparation phase of the VOM process, while a fundamental element for most programs, continued to raise questions for some programs. Program staff typically expressed strong convictions about the positive impact mediation had on participants and communities. Although VOM programs sometimes used different practices in the mediation process, goals were relatively similar. Considerable agreement was observed among VOM programs regarding the training format, the importance of role playing, and issues mediators need to address during training. Follow-up to mediation sessions was being taken more seriously as an area for substantive and creative enhancement of VOM programs. Many VOM programs reported the following as major challenges: funding, referrals, support in the community and in the justice system, and victim participation. Program staff also identified certain issues related to the long-range implications of procedures and practices. These issues concerned mediator certification, the mediation process, the presence of parents and other supporters in mediation sessions, relationships with victim service providers and the judicial system, case screening, and training. 34 references and 14 tables

Date Published: April 1, 2000