Source: (2010) Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention. 11(2):189-207.
This article examines the ideals, attitudes, and practices of victim-offender mediation (VOM) in relation to intimate relationship violence in Finland. In Finland the first experimental mediation projects founded on the principles and ideals of restorative justice were started in the beginning of the 1980s. Before the Act on Mediation in Criminal and Certain Civil Cases (1015/2005) came into force in 2006, mediation services were provided by cities, municipalities, and non-governmental organizations. Victim-offender mediation (VOM) practices varied, and there was minimal guidance and supervision by state authorities. The Act (1015/2005) aimed to standardize mediation services and practices and enable evaluation of VOM in order to provide solutions to some of the issues raised regarding mediation in intimate relationship violence (IRV). The Act states that only police or prosecutors may initiate the process for referring a case that involves intimate relationship violence. Furthermore, mediators/facilitators who handle IRV cases are required to attain further training. The aims and ideals stipulated in the Act on Mediation are presented and later compared to actual practices of VOM which were obtained through the review of documented agreements. These were the end-results of VOM in cases of intimate relationship violence. The empirical data also included a questionnaire sent to mediators in three offices as well as a national questionnaire sent to prosecutors. (Abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, www.ncjrs.gov).
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