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A Victim-Offender Mediation Model of Neutrality

Price, Marty D.
June 4, 2015

Source: (1996) VOMA Quarterly 7 (1).

Neutrality, as we understand it in the vast majority of conflict resolution settings (civil settings, rather than criminal), requires that the mediator will not “agree” with either party in regard to the issues of the dispute. The role of a “neutral” requires that the mediator in no way favors one disputant over another. The mediator does not “take sides” and does not make judgments of right or wrong as to the actions of the parties that led to the dispute. The mediation of most crime situations, however, presents a unique set of circumstances for the mediator. When a crime has been committed, the same concept of neutrality is not appropriate. In the majority of juvenile/criminal cases, a wrong has been committed against another person. The parties, therefore, come to a victim offender mediation program as a wronged person and a wrongdoer.
Restorative justice is about righting the wrong in a more healing and meaningful way. For these reasons, as well as to guard against the possibility of re-victimization at the mediation, victim-offender programs seldom mediate with an offender unless the offender has admitted the wrongdoing at some level, or has been convicted of the offense.


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