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Can Mediation Be Therapeutic for Crime Victims? An Evaluation of Victims’ Experiences in Mediation with Young Offenders.

Wemmers, Jo-Anne
June 4, 2015

Source: (2005) Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice/Revue canadienne de criminologie et de justice pénale. 47(3, July): 527-544.

This study examined the experiences of crime victims who participated in a restorative justice mediation program. While one of the core goals of the restorative justice model is to ease the suffering caused by the victimization experience, some victim advocates worry that restorative justice practices might augment victims’ suffering. The current study explored the research and theory behind victim participation in criminal justice and examined the relationship between victim-offender mediation and victim recovery via interviews with 59 victims, 39 of whom had participated in direct mediation while 7 participated in indirect mediation and 13 declined to participate in mediation. Interviews focused on the criminal justice-related attitudes and experiences of the victims, particularly regarding how their fear and recovery was affected by participation in victim-offender mediation. Results indicated that while 76 percent of participants reported no enhanced fear toward their offender as a result of mediation participation, a full 24 percent of victims did experience an increase in fear due to mediation. However, fear was a not a factor in victim decision to participate in mediation or not. A full 90 percent of participants reported that they considered the mediation program a good initiative while only 5 percent held the opposite opinion. Finally, 74 percent of participants reported that they had benefited from mediation. Overall, the findings suggest that restorative justice practices can facilitate victim healing. Future research should be conducted using a larger, more diverse sample. Abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service,


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