Source: (2002) Contemporary Justice Reviews

The conceptual orientation and implementation of Täter-Opfer-Augleich (TOA), the German version of victim-offender reconciliation programs (VORP), in the criminal and juvenile justice systems of Germany brings some dangers with it. If can hide the real nature and character of conflict mediation and prevent elements of restorative justice from giving up their shadowy existence. The practice of TOA for the most part is far from corresponding to the basic idea of conflict resolution and reconciliation as well as to established professional reconciliation standards. Conspicuous is the multiple search for niches of acceptance and an adaptation to inappropriate ideas out of the world of juvenile welfare and criminal law. TOA/VORP in its conception is not the ideal way to foster a restorative justice approach but, on a continuum of possible steps for the treatment of conflicts, it is useful. If victim-offender reconciliation has any essential meaning, it is not because of its modest attempts at practical realization but because it makes the essential tasks of law clear to us.