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“Victim-offender mediation in Belgium.”

Aertsen, Ivo
June 4, 2015

Source: (2000) In Victim-offender mediation in Europe: Making restorative justice work, ed. The European Forum for Victim-Offender Mediation and Restorative Justice, 153-192. With an introduction by Tony Peters. Leuven, Belgium: Leuven University Press.

In describing victim-offender mediation in Belgium, Aertsen starts by tracing its history. In Belgium the first initiatives, oriented around a rehabilitative model and undertaken by nongovernmental organizations within the framework of federal legislation, began in the late 1980s in the area of juvenile justice. Differences existed among the various initiatives, reflecting variations in local conditions and cultures in Belgium, and differences among the NGOS. (Belgium has three cultural Communities – Flemish, French, and German – and three economic Regions – Flemish, Walloon, and the Brussels Region). In general, though, the NGOs implemented juvenile mediation projects. Over time the scope of the efforts included community service, compensation, and other activities oriented around redirection of offenders. Gradually victims were included more and more in the processes, and focus moved from offender-based to fuller incorporation of victims’ needs and rights. However, efforts were mixed in scope and results. More significant development has occurred, particularly in the 1990s, in the extension of mediation to adult criminal justice. Adult mediation took shape in terms of three models: “penal mediationâ€?; “mediation for redressâ€?; and “mediation at the police levelâ€?.


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