Facilitate victim–offender dialogue

Being self-centred, most offenders don’t think about the harm they have caused to their victims. If the victim is willing, offenders should be encouraged to participate in victim–offender dialogues, meeting face-to-face along with a trained mediator.

In the meeting, the offender and the victim talk to each other about what happened, the effects of the crime on their lives, and their feelings about it. Often the offender is moved to acknowledge their responsibility and apologise. This is what the victims want more than anything. Frequently the dialogue results in a plan for the offender to make reparation for the crime.

In addition to making the offenders aware of the harm they have done, through the dialogue many victims are touched by the offender’s own story. Victims do not seek revenge but instead want to make sure the offender doesn't hurt anyone else. They usually encourage the offender to turn around their lives. Studies show that victims are much more likely to be satisfied with the outcomes of these dialogues than they are with traditional legal processes.

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