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Victim-offender mediation in France

Jullion, Daniel
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, 211-249. With an introduction by Tony Peters. Leuven, Belgium: Leuven University Press.

Jullion begins with a detailed summary of the complex history of mediation in France. While there are various forms of mediation in France (e.g., “neighborhood mediation,” and “community mediation”), Jullion concentrates on what he calls “institutionalized victim-offender mediation” or “court-based victim-offender mediation.” This form occurs under the intervention of criminal justice agencies. Building on previous ideas, victim-offender mediation developed in France in the mid 1980s. Social changes (including the demise of older social structures and the rise of urbanization) and increased bureaucratization of the criminal justice system led to major problems with that system. Support grew for mediation as an alternative to this bureaucratic system with its sanctions. The first formal experiment in victim-offender mediation occurred at a local level in 1984, and it was picked up by many other local jurisdictions over the next decade (without national legislation or direct mandate of the Ministry of Justice). Key aims linked with this development were crime prevention and victim assistance. No one law or part of legislation codifies victim-offender mediation; a number of legislative and regulatory texts bear upon victim-offender mediation. As a partner of public authorities, the National Institute of Victim Assistance and Mediation (INAVEM) has developed a framework to support court-based victim-offender mediation: a code of ethics; protocol for organizations and prosecution offices; and financial aspects of mediation programs.


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