Source: (-0001) Institute for Restorative Justice & Restorative Dialogue School of Social Work The University of Texas at Austin.

The purpose of this program is to reduce the harm the criminal justice proceedings may be inadvertently and unnecessarily inflicting on survivor families. Access to the defense team may help address survivor needs for information, empowerment and control – needs often not met by the criminal justice process. In addition it can serve as a means for the defense to relate to survivors with respect and compassion, which may, in turn, result in more options for their client. It may also reduce tension levels between the survivor family and defense counsel. The program is completely voluntary for both defense counsel to initiate and for victim survivors to participate. To insure a principled, victim-driven process, all communication flows from the survivor family to the defense except when the defense is responding to specific questions and requests. In Texas the DIVO program is part of the Institute for Restorative Justice and Restorative Dialogue, which is located in the School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin. The School of Social Work was selected as the site for DIVO because of its non-aligned status – neither pro defense nor pro prosecution. (excerpt)

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