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IAM Initiative: Victim Offender Dialogue for Juveniles

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The IAM Initiative: Victim Offender Dialogue for Juveniles

1. Victim offender Dialogue (VOD) is a process that falls within the concept of “Restorative Justice”.

  • a. Howard Zehr defines restorative justice as: “…a process to involve, to the extent possible, those who have a stake in a specific offense and to collectively identify and address harms, needs, and obligations, in order to heal and put things as right as possible.”
  • b. Arose from concern that victim needs not being met within traditional judicial process:
    • i. Alienation and frustration with system by community and victim;
    • ii. Lock up not working;
    • iii. Multiple other reasons;

2. Process developed to:

  • a. Include all stakeholders (victim, offender, community) in decision making;
  • b. Make sure voices are valued;
  • c. Repair the harm ;
  • d. Help with competency development;

3. Stakeholders:

  • a. Offender, from blame,
    • i. to acceptance of responsibility,
    • ii. understanding nature of harm caused,
    • iii. Competency development,
    • iv. Safety for community.
  • b. Victim, we give;
    • i. Voice,
    • ii. Needs identified and met whenever possible,
    • iii. Involvement.
  • c. Community:
    • i. Safety;
    • ii. Reintegration of offender;
    • iii. Community building.

4. Mediators:

  • a. Need to be trained in methodology (one day course), Quicker if only skilled mediators involved as trainees, 4 hours at most, may be less)
  • b. Basic questions involve harm (Keep in mind that a juvenile may not, without reflection, grasp the nature of the harm caused, etc. learning process):
    • i. Done to whom;
    • ii. What is the harm?
    • iii. What needs to be done to repair the harm?
    • iv. Who needs to repair harm?
  • c. All this while involving all relevant stakeholders:
  • d. This is a project that a mediator would work on a case by case basis through local juvenile court.


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