Source: (2003) Acta Criminologica. 16(5): 23-37. Criminological Society of South Africa. Downloaded 6 May 2004.Restorative mediation is not an alternative form of justice but a valuable addition to the current criminal justice process which can successfully be used for males and females, young and adult offenders, across racial, ethnic and social class groups and for both property and violent crimes. It focuses on caring, dialogue, forgiveness, reconciliation, accountability and reintegration and the community plays a crucial role in the mediation process. However, to ensure the success of restorative mediation it is imperative for criminal justice officials to have adequate knowledge of the philosophy, practices and effectiveness of restorative mediation because they play a crucial role in using it properly to avoid net widening. Mediators therefore need to be properly trained in the aims and objectives of restorative mediation, the guidelines on mediation as well as adequate screening and assessment of the participating parties, and should work according to appropriate ethical guidelines. It is essential that an appropriate protocol and ethical guidelines be established in South Africa to ensure the success of this important development in the criminal justice process. Mediators should also be properly trained and each agency or individual providing restorative mediation should have a constitution or policy document setting out the objectives of and procedures for restorative mediation. This article is based mainly on the guidelines and protocols provided by The Netherlands Victim-Offender Mediation Association (NVOM) and the US Centre for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking (CRJP). (Abstract courtesy of Acta Criminologica).