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Victim-offender mediation in Norway

Paus, Karen Kristin
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, 281-308. With an introduction by Tony Peters. Leuven, Belgium: Leuven University Press.

Two key events in the late 1970s provide the background for victim-offender mediation in Norway. In 1976 Nils Christie wrote an article redefining conflicts as property. This alternative to the accepted understanding of crime interpreted crime as “owned” by those directly involved in and affected by the offense: namely, the victim and the offender. They primarily – not the state – had a conflict that required resolution. In 1978 the government’s Report on Criminal Justice pointed towards the desirability of alternatives to incarceration for juveniles. From all of this, the first experimental mediation project began in 1981 in Norway. In 1983 the Ministry of Social Affairs called upon all localities in Norway to establish similar programs. Throughout the 1980s various organizations developed to provide mediation services or to study victim-offender mediation. In the early 1990s national legislation was passed to establish a mediation service program. Mediation is available for juveniles and adults, and for both civil and criminal cases. Prosecutors can refer cases to mediation, and civil cases can also be referred to mediation by the parties themselves. The 1991 Act of Mediation defines the basic principles of mediation as voluntary participation, the parties’ influence on the process and results, and the impartiality of the mediator. In general, mediation occurs in particular circumstances as a part of the overall criminal justice system. With respect to the quality and scope of services provided, there are significant variations among localities. Police receive only a small amount of education concerning mediation services. Mediation Services in Norway works with both victim-offender mediation and other types of mediation (such as school mediation).


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