Source: (2002) In Restorative Justice and its Relation to the Criminal Justice System: Papers from the second conference of the European Forum for Victim-Offender Mediation and Restorative Justice, Oostende, Belgium, 10-12 October. Pp. 80-87. Downloaded 23 February 2005.

As Georg Zwinder notes, the victim-offender mediation program (VOM) in Austria began in the 1980s within the framework of juvenile criminal law by social workers working for the probation system. In 1992 VOM was extended as a pilot project to general criminal law for adult offenders. For social workers, all of this involved a new approach with a new perspective – that of restorative justice, with emphases on crime as harm and on the needs of victims. Zwinger explores what they learned in Austria about victims, the role of the mediator, the prime purpose of VOM, methods for conducting a mediation, the relationship between social workers and criminal justice authorities, and the future of VOM in the Austrian criminal justice system.