Restorative justice attempts to repair the harm caused by criminal behavior by transforming the harmful behavior and providing healing for the victim, offender, and community alike. Restorative justice can be a useful alternative to jail sentences in which healing and transformation are typically absent.
Victim-Offender Mediation (VOM) is a form of restorative justice that provides the victim an opportunity to meet their offender in a safe and structured setting. A trained and neutral mediator is present to guide the dialog. VOM goals include:
- The Victim’s suffering is fully heard and understood by the Offender(s).
- The Victim understands why the Offender(s) chose them and did what they did.
- The Victim hears the Offender(s) take responsibility.
- A reparation plan is developed for the Offender(s) to provide financial and/or physical support to repair damage to the Victim.
VOM can be effective for crimes like burglary, vandalism, petty larceny, and assaults – and even for more severe crimes like rape or murder.