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Victim-offender mediation in the UK

Liebmann, Marian
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, 337-369. With an introduction by Tony Peters. Leuven, Belgium: Leuven University Press.

Liebmann and Masters examine the history and current state of victim-offender mediation in the United Kingdom (UK). Development began in the early 1980s with several local initiatives (some of which grew out of victim support efforts in the 1970s). Such initiatives multiplied, though there was no legislation or central guidance for victim-offender mediation in the UK. There was government interest in victim-offender mediation in 1985-1987, but that subsided until recently. The Crime & Disorder Act of 1998 has given new impetus to the development of restorative practices in the youth justice system in particular (with an emphasis on reparation), and substantial funds have been made available (1999) for restorative initiatives. General consensus about the principles and purposes of victim-offender mediation exists, yet there are many forms of victim-offender mediation in the UK. One factor affecting variation is that parts of the UK have significant differences in their criminal justice systems (e.g., Scotland). Also, significant differences in social and political conditions affect the structure and practice of victim-offender mediation (e.g., Northern Ireland). A variety of organizations are involved in mediation. These include probation services, social services, youth justice centers, police (the Thames Valley police are noteworthy in this regard), prisons, and community mediation services. (Mediation UK, for example, is an umbrella organization for mediation.) The authors provide a summary of a number of programs and organizations involved in mediation, and they describe in general the practice of mediation (pre-conditions, principles and skills, purpose, process, follow-up).


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