Victim-Offender Dialogue (VOD)
Victim offender dialogues involve a meeting between the victim of a crime and the offender facilitated by a trained mediator or facilitator. With the assistance of the facilitator, the victim and offender begin the process of mutual understanding, and to construct their own approach to achieving justice in the face of their particular crime. Both are given the opportunity to express their feelings and perceptions of the offense (which often dispels misconceptions they may have had of one another before entering dialogue).
The meetings conclude by attempting to reach agreement on steps the offender will take to repair the harm suffered by the victim and in other ways to “make things right”.
VOD focuses on the victim of the crime and on offender accountability. Victims are often ignored by the traditional criminal justice process. VOD helps victims heal from the harm. VOD recognizes that crime is far more than just an inconvenience for the victim. VOD gives the victim the opportunity to talk about the harm, and to help the offender truly understand the harm done.
The VOD process helps offenders recognize and understand the harm that they have done, and holds them accountable to the victim and their community. The VOD process is also about the community. A crime against you affects your neighbors and your family. Whenever possible, VOD includes community members in the process.
California spends more per year to incarcerate a prisoner than it would cost you to send a college freshman to Dartmouth. Nationally, victim/offender dialogue programs reduce re-offenses by as much as 60%, and 90% of victims are satisfied and appreciative of having participated in the process. Youth diverted from crime at an early age do not end up in adult prison. Click here for more on the history of Victim Offender Mediation/Dialogue.
Dialogues in the Community
RJMP offers Victim Offender Dialogues throughout all of San Diego County through the juvenile and adult justice system partners and in instances where the offender is on probation or in some pre-charge cases. Victims must be willing and interested in participation.
Dialogues in Correctional Facilities
At the initiation of the victim or surviving family member of a serious or violent offense such as homicide, DUI causing death, sexual assault, kidnapping, aggravated robbery, etc., in which the offender is incarcerated in a CA State Prison, a Victim Offender Dialogue (VOD) may be requested. RJMP staff trained in facilitating these types of cases will work in collaboration with the CDCR Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services to provide assistance to victims interested in exploring how a VOD may be able to help them. Learn more about VODs in serious and violent cases.
Most VODs are arranged and led by trained volunteer facilitators. Our volunteers come from all walks of life. Some are school teachers, social workers, attorneys, small business owners, professors, health care administrators, clergy, and counselors. Some are students, some work full-time, and some are retired. Our volunteers do amazing work! If you are interested in becoming a VOD facilitator, please contact our office or visit our Contact Us Page.