Source: (2011) Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal. 28(5):335-355.

Restorative justice conferences including Victim Offender Mediation (VOM) are rapidly increasing. Due to a lack of participants’ accounts on their experiences, gaining knowledge on how restorative justice works from their perspective is critical, especially to further development of justice policy and practice. In this exploratory qualitative study we interviewed 37 participants in a VOM operating in a mid-sized Midwestern city in the United States. In this article, we examine some youths’ experiences in their VOM to deepen our understanding of how and why restorative discourses work. Findings suggest that meeting their victims through VOM helped the youths realize the extent of the consequences of their actions by being able to personalize their victims and their victimized experiences. In conclusion we highlight the importance of appreciating the unseen effects of the crimes. Lastly, we make some recommendations for practitioners to assist their developing better programs in dealing with youths in restorative justice contexts. (author's abstract)

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