Source: (2000) In Victim-offender mediation in Europe: Making restorative justice work, ed. The European Forum for Victim-Offender Mediation and Restorative Justice, 69-81. With an introduction by Tony Peters. Leuven, Belgium: Leuven University Press.
Many alternative ideas and practices to current criminal justice systems have been promoted in recent decades. One is victim-offender mediation, part of the larger notion of restorative justice. Yet many of the alternative ideas and practices are employed with a variety of meanings and purposes, without precision or significant commonality. Groenhuijsen therefore examines victim-offender mediation to describe more precisely what it is and how it is practiced, with particular reference to European jurisdictions. Specifically, he examines the following: (1) its relationship to conventional criminal justice systems (e.g., is it chiefly a part of the criminal justice process, or is it a genuine alternative to the process?); (2) arguments in favor of victim-offender mediation legislation; and (3) certain basic issues pertaining to the content of legislation for victim-offender mediation (especially with respect to legal and procedural safeguards, such as the voluntary nature of the process, the importance of language and interpretation when the process involves participants from different countries, the question of legal assistance in the process, and the role of presumption of innocence in the mediation process in relation to the need for the perpetrator to accept responsibility for his or her actions). Groenhuijsen urges more work be done to address in detail these important matters in the theory and practice of victim-offender mediation.