Victim/Offender Dialogue Program (VODP)

The purpose of a Victim/Offender Dialogue is to:

  • Provide a restorative conflict resolution process that actively involves the victim and the offender in repairing the emotional and material harm caused by a crime
  • Provide an opportunity for a victim and offender to discuss the offense, get answers to their questions, express feelings and gain a greater sense of closure
  • Provide an opportunity for a victim and offender to develop a mutually agreeable plan that addresses the harm caused by the crime

Recent research has demonstrated that these types of dialogues (often referred to as victim/offender mediation or reconcilation) have yielded greater satisfaction for the victim; compared to practices in which victims have not had the opportunity to become involved in this type of process. In addition, research shows that offenders who participate in these types of programs are more likely to complete restitution and community service incurred by their crime.

Appropriate cases are referred to VODP and participation is voluntary with no costs attached.

The pre-dialogue meeting: Each party will have an opportunity to explain their experience of the crime and discuss when to go forward with the dialogue. If the decision to hold the dialogue is made, a mutually agreeable time will be set and the location of the meeting will be established. Both the victim and the offender may identify appropriate support persons whom they wish to have present during the dialogue.

A typical dialogue meeting may last two hours or longer. Following instructions and explaination of the ground rules, the victim is invited to begin with a telling of their experience of the crime. The offender will then explain the crime. After both parties have had the opportunity to ask and answer each other's questions, support persons will be allowed to add their experiences and present any questions they may have. The next phase involves generating options. Once an agreement is reached, all parties sign a contract and progress is monitored by a probation officer.