Source: (2003) In, Elmar Weitekamp and Hans-Jurgen Kerner, eds. Restorative Justice in Context: International Practice and Directions.Devon, UK and Portland Oregon: Willan Publishing. Pp.123-144.

An increasing number of victims of sexual assault, attempted homicide, and survivors of murder victims are requesting the opportunity to meet the offender to express the full impact of the crime upon their life, to get answers to many questions they have, and to gain a greater sense of closure so that they can move on with their lives. In most cases this occurs many years after the crime has occurred and the actual mediation/dialogue session is held in a secure institution where the offender is located. Victim Services Units in six States are at various levels of developing a statewide protocol for allowing such an encounter between a victim/survivor of a severely violent crime and the offender. There have not been many studies of victim-offender mediation (VOM) in crimes of severe violence, but preliminary evidence indicates that the principles of restorative justice can be applied in selected cases of severe violence, particularly through the practice of VOM and dialogue. This requires a far more intense case development process. The "dialogue-driven" humanistic model of mediation offers a more victim-sensitive process that is also likely to engage the offender in a dialogue about the full impact of the offense. Preliminary data indicates exceptionally high levels of client satisfaction with the process and outcome of VOM and dialogue in crimes of severe violence. However, more rigorous studies involving larger samples are required. Criminal justice officials and individual mediators must not be quick to refer or facilitate the use of mediation and dialogue in crimes of severe violence without having first secured advanced training and mentoring. Many unintended negative consequences could result from such initiatives, including a significant re-victimization of the victim. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service,