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Victim Offender Mediation Refusals: A study of mediator perceptions

Ruth-Heffelbower, Duane
June 4, 2015

Source: (2005) Presented at the American Society of Victimology annual meeting April 28, Fresno, California. Center for Peacemaking and Conflict Studies, Fresno Pacific University. Downloaded 9 May 2005.

Restorative Justice has been described as a way to bring the victim and offender together to promote
a better understanding of the consequences of the crime and healing for the victim and community (Gerard,
1996, p.3). With this in mind, the researcher conducted a quantitative random study of why mediation
refusals occur. The researcher interviewed 45 Victim Offender Reconciliation Program mediators who had
mediated cases between 2001 and 2003. It is the hope of VORP and the researcher that the findings in this
study will allow VORP to become more successful at obtaining mediation agreements. The literature found
within this paper suggests that the success of mediation is determined by the knowledge of the mediator.
We hope that the use of the instrument designed for this study will allow us to determine the areas that may
present the most problems for mediators. Victim-offender dialogue in a mediation setting is the primary tool used to bring about restorative
justice. A review of the literature on restorative justice and mediation suggests many reasons for the success
or failure of the mediation process. Factors shown to contribute to successful mediation include: 1) the
mediator’s style, 2) the ability of the mediator to show empathy, and 3) the mediator’s competence. The
mediation process, on the other hand, may be unsuccessful due to some of the following reasons: 1) if there
is unequal power between the parties involved, 2) if there is a low motivation to come to an agreement, and
3) if there is no follow-up of the offender to make sure he/she complies with agreement that he/she has
made. VORP of the Central Valley has an over 99% agreement rate once the parties agree to mediate. The
research process here will utilize a case analysis to examine reasons for success or failure during the lead-in
to the mediation process in the Victim Offender Reconciliation Program in Fresno, California. (excerpt)


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