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Can Mediation Be Therapeutic for Crime Victims? An Evaluation of Victims' Experiences in Mediation with Young Offenders

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Abstract

Victims' experiences in the justice system may help or hinder their healing process. Restorative justice aims to heal the suffering caused by victimization (Zehr 2002). However, some victim advocates have expressed concern that restorative justice may augment victims' suffering. This article presents the results of an evaluation of the experiences of crime victims who were invited to participate in a mediation program. Using therapeutic jurisprudence as a framework, the study looks at how victims' fear was affected by the program and whether their participation in the program helped with their recovery.

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... Using satisfaction appears to be a meaningful measure of success because research shows high levels of satisfaction compared to the criminal justice system, but failing to consider the "consensual nature" of restorative justice creates bias. In studying satisfaction, we must acknowledge that there may be difference between people who agree to 7 For discussions of "satisfaction" as a measure of success, see Bonta, Wallace-Capretta, & Rooney, 1998;Bonta, Wallace-Capretta, Rooney, & McAnoy, 2002;Braithwaite, 2002c;Brookes, 2000;Cameron & Thorsborne, 2001;Chatterjee, 1999;Clairmont, 2005;Dhami & Joy, 2007;Dignan, 2005;Faget, 2008;Forget, 2003;Hayes, 1998;Johnstone, 2005;Kurki, 2003;Latimer, Dowden, & Muise, 2005;Latimer & Kleinknecht, 2000;Liebmann, 2007;McCold, 2008;McCold, 2003;Miers et al., 2001;Moore, 2003;Morris & Maxwell, 1998;Pelikan & Trenczek, 2008;Pranis, 2004;Presser & Van Voorhis, 2002;Rugge & Cormier, 2005;Sherman & Strang, 2007;Strang, 2002;Strang et al., 2006;Umbreit, Coates, & Vos, 2008;Umbreit, Coates, & Vos, 2002;Umbreit, Coates, & Vos, 2001;Van Ness & Schiff, 2001;Von Hirsch, Ashworth, & Shearing, 2003;Wemmers & Cyr, 2005;Zernova, 2007 participate in restorative justice and those who do not (Faget, 2008, p.81). Further to this, Johnstone (2005) suggests that it is virtually impossible to disentangle the multitude of variables, which together determine how satisfied people are with any social service. ...
... 14 Overall, for the majority of participants, the restorative process facilitated wellbeing and healing, allowed for reduction of anger and increased sympathy, and emotional restoration. reduction in anger of offender and increased sympathy for the offender (Braithwaite, 2002c, p.325;Strang & Sherman, 2003, p.48;Strang et al., 2006, p.295, 298;Wemmers & Cyr, 2005, p.540). Ideas surrounding people coming together, appreciating perspectives, and developing empathy seem like appropriate means of evaluation and measures of success, but how do we measure this (Von Hirsch, Ashworth, & Shearing, 2003, p.245-246)? ...
... For further discussion of "reduction of fear" as a measure of success, seeBraithwaite, 2002c;Cameron & Thorsborne, 2001;Daly, 2003b;Dhami & Joy, 2007; Pelikan & Trenszek, 2008; Pemberton, Strang & Sherman, 2003;Winkel, & Groenhuijsen, 2008;Umbreit, Coates, & Vos, 2001;Van Ness & Schiff, 2001;Wemmers & Cyr, 2005 ...
... at the same time, heal the hann caused by the offense and prevent its reoccurrence (Morris, 2002; Rojek et al., 2003). According to restorative justice researchers, the best way to heal the hann done and prevent its reoccurrence is through the use of conferences (Dzur, 2003), victim impact panels (Rojek et al., 2003), victim impact statements (Erez, 1994Erez, , 2000 Erez et al., 1997 ), and victim impact training (http://www.cya.ca.gov/Victims/victimreparation .html)-all of which have been reported as being effective at contributing to the reparative process between the victim, offender, and community and reducing recidivism among offenders (Umbreit et al., 2002; Rodriguez, 2005; Wemmers and Cyr, 2005). By establishing a dialogue among the victim, offender, and the community, offenders are made aware that their criminal activity not only impacts the victim, but also impacts the entire community . ...
... Further, through this dialogue, individual victims as well as the community can begin their healing process and ultimately move forward with their lives. Also, through dialogue, victims by having the opportunity to present their feelings of loss to the offender can possibly generate guilt or shame within the offender (Dzur, 2003; Gilligan, 2003; Mehrabian and Epstein, 1972; Lutwak et al., 2001; Smith-Cunnien and Parilla, 2001; Takagi and Shank, 2004; Rodriguez, 2005; Tangney, 1991; Wemmers and Cyr, 2005 ). Through the process of shaming , it is likely that the offender may develop some level of emotional empathy towards the victim, thus further contributing to the prevention of reoccurrence. ...
... Rodriguez concluded that those who participated and completed the programs were less likely to recidivate in comparison to those who did not participate in the program. Other research has examined whether or not mediation , which is a significant component of the restorative justice model, can be therapeutic for crime victims (Wemmers and Cyr, 2005). Wemmer and Cyr's findings indicate that, although many victims were afraid to confront offenders, procedural justice can facilitate healing. ...
Article
The present study is a panel-design study with the primary goal of examining the effect of Victim Impact Training (VIT) on the development of guilt, shame, and empathy among offenders. The secondary goal of this study is to examine the effect of empathy development on recidivism. MANCOVA results show no overall significant differences between offenders who participated in the VIT program in comparison to the control group on the development of guilt, shame, and empathy. Further, the results indicate no significant effect of empathy on recidivism. However, results indicate two significant findings: (1) offenders who report higher levels of guilt are more likely to report positive empathy development; and (2) that VIT participants in comparison to the control group were less likely to recidivate. The implications of these findings are discussed.
... According to restorative justice researchers, the best way to heal the harm done and prevent its reoccurrence is through the use conferences (Dzur, 2003), victim impact panels (Rojek et al., 2003), victim impact statements (Erez, 1994(Erez, , 2000Erez, Roeger, & Morgan, 1997), and victim impact training (Jackson & Bonnacker, 2006)-all of which have been reported as being effective at contributing to the reparative process among the victim, offender, and community and at reducing the recidivism rate of offenders (Umbreit, Coates, & Vos, 2002;Rodriguez, 2005;Wemmers & Cyr, 2005). By establishing a dialogue among the victim, offender, and the com-munity, offenders are made aware that their criminal activity not only impacts the victim, but also impacts the entire community. ...
... Further, through this dialogue, individual victims as well as the community can begin their healing process and ultimately move forward with their lives. Also, through dialogue, victims by having the opportunity to present their feelings of loss to the offender can possibly generate the emotional responses of guilt or shame within the offender (Dzur, 2003;Gilligan, 2003;Mehrabian & Epstein, 1972;Lutwak et al., 2001;Smith-Cunnien & Parilla, 2001;Takagi & Shank, 2004;Rodriguez, 2005;Tangney, 1991;Wemmers & Cyr, 2005). This emotional development of guilt or shame among offenders is important, because according to Tangney and Dearing (2002) it is the key to generating a dialogue of healing. ...
... Rodriguez concluded that those who participated and completed the programs were less likely to recidivate in comparison to those who did not participate in the program. Other research has examined whether or not mediation, which is a signifi cant component of the restorative justice model, can be therapeutic for crime victims (Wemmers & Cyr, 2005). Wemmer and Cyr's fi ndings indicate that, although many victims were afraid to confront offenders, procedural justice can facilitate healing. ...
Article
Restorative justice as a philosophy consistently highlights the importance of dialogue among the offender, the victim, and the community as a signifi cant component of re- pairing the harm done. However, without understanding whether or not offenders are developing the emotions of guilt, shame, and empathy which are necessary for recon- ciliation, the healing dialogue may be misguided. The present study utilizes a panel design approach with the primary goal of examining the effect of a Missouri Depart- ment of Corrections Restorative Justice Program—Victim Impact Training (VIT) on the emotional development of guilt, shame, and empathy among offenders. The MANCOVA results show no overall signifi cant differences in VIT participant's pre- and post-test scores on their development of guilt, shame, and empathy. However, regression analy- sis results indicate signifi cant relationships between shame and empathy among of- fenders. Results also indicate signifi cant differences among gender, age, and race on guilt, shame, and empathy. These fi ndings and their implications are discussed.
... Some studies have examined the impact of restorative justice programs on victims' mental health (Levine 2000). Wemmers and Cyr (2005) found that victims who participated in mediation generally said that they felt better after mediation and that it reduced their fear. Similarly, Umbreit and Coates (1993) found that mediation reduced victims' fear. ...
... Strang (2002) found that restorative justice reduced victims' anger and anxiety, increased their self-confidence, and permitted forgiveness. However, a minority of victims in these studies reported more fear, anxiety or depression (Launey 1987;Smith et al. 1988;Strang 2002) and felt worse after participating in mediation (Morris et al. 1993;Wemmers and Cyr 2005). Close examination of these cases reveals that they should never have gone to mediation in the first place because the offender never accepted responsibility for their behavior (Strang 2002;Wemmers and Cyr 2005). ...
... However, a minority of victims in these studies reported more fear, anxiety or depression (Launey 1987;Smith et al. 1988;Strang 2002) and felt worse after participating in mediation (Morris et al. 1993;Wemmers and Cyr 2005). Close examination of these cases reveals that they should never have gone to mediation in the first place because the offender never accepted responsibility for their behavior (Strang 2002;Wemmers and Cyr 2005). ...
... The nature of such emotions is diverse, but emotions related to themselves, the situation and the offender can be distinguished. Regarding themselves, some victims have reported peace ( Umbreit et al., 2003), a sense of participation, involvement and control ( Beven et al., 2005;Strang, 2002;Umbreit, 1994Umbreit, , 2001), and the positive feeling of closure or having left their victimization behind ( Wemmers and Cyr, 2005). Furthermore, it is not uncommon for victims to value the fact they were able to meet or confront the offender and to express themselves as they wanted ( Flaten, 1996;Umbreit, 1988Umbreit, , 1991). ...
... Furthermore, it is not uncommon for victims to value the fact they were able to meet or confront the offender and to express themselves as they wanted ( Flaten, 1996;Umbreit, 1988Umbreit, , 1991). Regarding the situation, some victims have described a renewed sense of security and protection ( Beven et al., 2005;Wemmers and Cyr, 2005) as well as a better understanding of the crime situation ( Beven et al., 2005;Flaten, 1996;Umbreit, 1989Umbreit, , 1994). Victims also tend to report significant feelings of fairness and dignity ( Bradshaw and Umbreit, 1998;Strang, 2002;Umbreit, 1994;Umbreit et al., 2004;Wemmers and Cyr, 2005) which, according to Beven et al. (2005) are related to the amount of input victims are afforded during the process. ...
... Regarding the situation, some victims have described a renewed sense of security and protection ( Beven et al., 2005;Wemmers and Cyr, 2005) as well as a better understanding of the crime situation ( Beven et al., 2005;Flaten, 1996;Umbreit, 1989Umbreit, , 1994). Victims also tend to report significant feelings of fairness and dignity ( Bradshaw and Umbreit, 1998;Strang, 2002;Umbreit, 1994;Umbreit et al., 2004;Wemmers and Cyr, 2005) which, according to Beven et al. (2005) are related to the amount of input victims are afforded during the process. Factors negatively associated with the perception of fairness are the negative attitude of the offender towards mediation ( Umbreit, 1994) and the victim's perception of bias in the mediator ( Morris et al., 1993;Umbreit, 1994). ...
Article
It has been argued that every scientific decision is co-determined by underlying worldviews. Which worldviews have guided research on restorative justice (RJ) with respect to the topic of ‘victims’ restoration'? In the RJ literature, ‘restoration’ appears from different perspectives, but it is not clear what the implications that these different perspectives might have for RJ practice and research are. This paper aims to a) describe how in RJ literature ‘restoration’ has been defined and measured, trying to uncover the underlying approaches adopted in both theory and research, and b) analyze their implications and limitations for the development of RJ theory and practice. The analysis shows that approaches differ in terms of how harm is defined and how the role of the victim is conceived, as well as with respect to the aspects that are considered to be most helpful for RJ practice. There also seems to be a gap between what has been theoretically defined and what has been empirically measured. Finally, it is concluded that the predominance of psychological models, the tendency to describe more than to explain, and the lack of a more comprehensive theoretical framework on victims' restoration are common characteristics of existing approaches.
... Comparative research findings show that victims are more likely to obtain compensation for material damages or symbolic reparation in a restorative intervention than in the conventional justice system (Braithwaite, 1999;Latimer et al., 2005). Participation in a restorative intervention can also have a healing or therapeutic impact (Rugge and Scott, 2009;Wemmers and Cyr, 2005). For example, Strang et al. (2006) found significantly reduced levels of fear and anger for victims after participation in a restorative intervention, as opposed to after participation in the criminal justice system. ...
... Another observation concerns the pertinence of interactions or dialogue. The procedural justice concept of voice not only concerns the opportunity to speak but also to be heard (Wemmers and Cyr, 2005). Restorative interventions add to that the possibility of interacting. ...
... Voice is related to the opportunity to make a statement and express one's opinion about what a fair outcome would be to a decision maker (Folger, 1977(Folger, , 1996 and to be heard (Wemmers and Cyr, 2005). Not only did the victims in our sample want to express their concerns and ask questions; they wanted immediate answers and to be able to discuss them. ...
Article
Evaluative studies have demonstrated that victims of crime are satisfied with their participation in a restorative intervention. Meanwhile, the explanation of victim satisfaction with restorative practices remains to be established. In this article, we study factors contributing to victim satisfaction with the restorative approach and ask to what extent victim satisfaction is simply due to procedural justice. Procedural justice theory predicts that the perceived fairness of a conflict resolution procedure is not only explained by the favourability of its outcome, but also by the appreciation of procedural factors, such as trust, neutrality, respect and voice, and that procedures can be assessed irrespective of their outcome. We conducted semi-directive interviews with 34 victims of violent crime who participated in victim–offender mediation, family group conferencing or victim–offender encounters in Canada and Belgium. We found that appreciation of a restorative approach is related to it being perceived as procedurally just. However, it is also related to other factors, namely the restorative approach being flexible, providing care, centring on dialogue and permitting pro-social motives to be addressed. These factors are not accounted for by the procedural justice model. Therefore, procedural justice partially but not entirely explains victim satisfaction with restorative practices.
... La JR peut avoir un effet thérapeutique sur les victimes (ONUDC, 2020 ; Rugge et Scott, 2009 ;Shapland, 2016 ;Strang et al., 2006 ;Wemmers et Cyr, 2005). Elle peut favoriser l'autonomie des victimes et les aider à retrouver le sentiment d'avoir une emprise sur leur propre existence (Cyr, 2008 ;Johnstone, 2011 ;Koss, 2014 ;Shapland, Robinson et Shorsby, 2011 ;Wemmers et Cyr, 2005). ...
... La JR peut avoir un effet thérapeutique sur les victimes (ONUDC, 2020 ; Rugge et Scott, 2009 ;Shapland, 2016 ;Strang et al., 2006 ;Wemmers et Cyr, 2005). Elle peut favoriser l'autonomie des victimes et les aider à retrouver le sentiment d'avoir une emprise sur leur propre existence (Cyr, 2008 ;Johnstone, 2011 ;Koss, 2014 ;Shapland, Robinson et Shorsby, 2011 ;Wemmers et Cyr, 2005). Après l'analyse de plusieurs études, Lloyd et Borrill (2020) concluent que la JR procure l'amélioration des symptômes post-traumatiques des victimes. ...
Article
Full-text available
This paper explores the meaning of forgiveness for victims. The results indicate that forgiveness is triggered by the dialogue between the victim and the offender, particularly when the person who has committed a sexual offence takes responsibility for the actions and apologizes to the victim. Victims tend to see forgiveness not as something that is offered to the offender but as something they give to themselves. For victims, forgiveness is an integral part of their recovery from victimization.
... Research on non-participant victims-that is, victims who have decided not to participate in RJ-is scarce. 2 Among the factors that contribute to decisions not to attend these meetings, reasons can be associated with the meeting itself, the offender, and the influence of significant others (Hoyle, 2002;Hill, 2002;Morris, Maxwell & Robert-son, 1993;Vanfraechem, 2013;Wemmers & Cyr, 2005;Umbreit, 1994;Coates, Burns & Umbreit, 2002-the last two in Umbreit, Coates & Vos, 2004): ...
... At the same time, participation in RJ seems to produce important and positive psychological consequences, such as reducing feelings of anxiety and fear, helping victims to recover respect and self-esteem, and lessening symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (see e.g. Angel, 2005;Beven et al., 2005;Gustafson, 2005;Strang, 2002;Umbreit, 1989a;Umbreit, 1994;Umbreit, Coates & Vos, 2004;Wemmers & Cyr, 2005). 5 Despite this positive evidence, some practitioners and academics have expressed concerns that RJ may be a harmful strategy for victims, either because of the lack of training of the mediator, or because of the emotional intensity of the practice itself (see e.g. ...
Article
The phenomenon of victim participation in restorative justice (RJ) has been studied from two main angles: describing victims' motivations to take part in RJ, and studying the benefits that different groups of victims may obtain when participating in RJ. However, the methodological limitations of previous studies have prevented conclusive answers being given to the question 'for whom is RJ?'. This article offers insights into these issues, focusing on the descriptive findings of a mixed-method study carried out in the context of victim-offender mediation (in Spain and Belgium) and assessed before the encounter (if any) took place. Results suggest that, before mediation, victims' personal characteristics tend to differ. The factor 'victim-offender relationship' also appeared as an important variable. Implications of these findings are discussed.
... Victims have been neglected in traditional court procedures where their voices are not heard in court evaluations (Gromet, 2012). However, scholars are increasingly investigating victims in court and restorative justice processes (Dhami, 2012;Gilbert & Settles, 2007;Roberts, 2009;Strang, Sherman, Angel, Woods, Bennett, Newbury-Birch, Inkpen, 2006;Wemmers, 2009;Wemmers & Cyr, 2005). Wemmers (2009) stressed that the victim needs to be considered part of the criminal justice process, and while restorative justice includes victims in the process, inclusion from the criminal justice system is still needed. ...
... Evaluating victim responses across sites in Australia and the United Kingdom (UK), it was found that victims reported less fear and anger towards the offender after having completed a restorative justice procedure (Strang et al., 2006). Wemmers and Cyr (2005) interviewed victims who had experienced victim-offender mediation and found that many victims indicated that they were able to move past their victimization as a result of their participation in the restorative justice procedure. ...
... Recently, a number of studies explicitly examined victims' participation in the criminal justice system from the therapeutic jurisprudence perspective (e.g. Feldthusen et al. 2002, Wemmers and Cyr 2005, Wemmers 2008, Cattaneo and Goodman 2010.This research suggests that the way victims of crime are treated by the criminal justice system can have therapeutic consequences for victims of crime. For example, in Cattaneo and Goodman's (2010) study, more empowering experiences in the court predicted reduction in depression for victims of intimate partner violence. ...
... For example, in Cattaneo and Goodman's (2010) study, more empowering experiences in the court predicted reduction in depression for victims of intimate partner violence. Similarly, in Wemmers and Cyr's (2005) study of victims of personal and property crimes, victims who participated in a mediation programme with young offenders and perceived that they were treated fairly were more likely to put their victimisation experiences behind them. ...
Article
Full-text available
The vast majority of studies to date have documented a negative impact associated with contacts between the police and victims of crime. In contrast, this qualitative study examined how victim-police interactions, specifically perceptions of procedural justice (fair treatment by police) can help victims reduce the trauma associated with the crime and help them recover from the negative psychological consequences of victimisation experiences. In-depth interviews were conducted with 110 people who had reported a crime (personal or property) to the police during the previous year. The findings indicated that validation of victimisation experiences by the police was beneficial in addressing the negative psychological consequences of crime by giving victims a sense of closure, empowerment, and making them feel safer. Moreover, the validation of victimisation experiences by the police was vitally important to the victims of crime as it was seen as an indication of their value in and a broader validation from a wider community. This study suggests that the processes associated with reporting crimes to the police may be essential for the victims' recovery from their victimisation experiences. Implications for policy development are discussed.
... Based on a study of almost 300 restorative conferences with adult offenders, Shapland and her colleagues (2006) observed that, on the few occasions conferences broke down or were unsatisfying to victims, the offender denied or partially denied responsibility for the harm. Re-traumatization of the victim may during a restorative process if the offender denies responsibility (Wemmers & Cyr, 2005). Attribution theory offers a potential explanation for the importance to the victim of the offender's assumption of responsibility in that, unless the offender assumes responsibility, the victim may resort to destructive self-blame to explain the harmful event (Maercker & Muller, 2004;Petrucci, 2002;Strang et al., 2006) Believing the offender empathizes with their experience may also be associated with victims' long term healing. ...
Article
Full-text available
This article presents the results of intervention research that compared the impact on victims of restorative and conventional approaches to juvenile justice. Using a quasi-experimental design that allowed for statistical control of select pre-intervention differences, victims were compared on nine variables across the domains of accountability, relationship repair, and closure. A brief review that describes and locates each variable in the literature is offered to provide clarity about their conceptual meaning. The findings support the conclusion that restorative responses in the aftermath of harm are significantly more beneficial for victims than conventional approaches.
... The greater part of investigations, including three meta-analyses, suggests that about a third (28-34%) of offenders recidivate following participation in restorative programmes; in experimental studies the majority of offenders were less likely to reoffend when compared to control groups (Bergseth & Bouffard, 2007;Bonta, Jesseman, Rugge & Cormier, 2006;Bonta et al., 2002;Bradshaw et al., 2006;Latimer et al., 2005;Rodriguez, 2007). In general, victims and offenders express high levels of satisfaction with the mediation process (Bonta et al., 2006;Bradshaw et al., 2006;McCold & Wachtel, 2000;Mutter & Dugmore, 2008;Umbreit & Fercello, 1997;Wemmers & Cyr, 2005). Re-offences also tend to be less serious compared to those committed by nonrestorative groups (Nugent & Paddock, 1995). ...
Article
Full-text available
Victim-offender mediation is an expression of restorative justice. The wellbeing of victims of crime is a central feature of restorative justice services. The process of restorative mediation entails all parties, i.e. the victim, the offender, their families and members of the community, voluntarily participating in face-to-face dialogue, where truth-telling enables the offender to take personal responsibility for his/her criminal behaviour (Rainford, 2010). An important outcome of restorative mediation is reaching an agreement regarding the strategies to remedy the wrongdoing. A developmental social work perspective counteracts retributive justice in shifting the intervention focus from individual defect and blame to reform and social change (Midgley, 2010). Developmental social work is embedded in investment strategies in restoring people to full functioning in society (Rainford, 2010). In fact, “social investment, economic participation, empowerment and human investment are relevant to all systems and forms of social work intervention” (Midgley, 2010:12
... Theoretically, such policies are best understood from the conceptual framework of therapeutic jurisprudence, which studies the law's impact on the physical and psychological well-being of individuals who come into contact with it (see Wexler, 1990;Winick, 1996Winick, , 1997Winick and Wexler, 2003). Giving the victim the opportunity to participate actively in the prosecutorial process enhances his or her well-being (Erez and Hartley, 2003;Gover, Brank, and McDonald, 2007;Wemmers, 2008;Wemmers and Cyr, 2005) and reinforces that he or she is competent and can exercise autonomy. Furthermore, the absence of an active role and real influence in criminal proceedings may be harmful to victims' well-being (Diesen, 2011). ...
Article
Differences in outcomes for domestic violence cases were compared across two court jurisdictions, one that employed victim-centered prosecutorial policies and one that employed evidence-based prosecutorial policies. Evidence-based prosecutorial policies argue that the reoccurrence of violence is deterred through the certain, swift, and severe punishment of offenders, whereas victim-centered prosecutorial policies claim that the reoccurrence of violence declines when victims interact with court officials who provide them with the opportunity to participate actively and provide input into the court's actions. Overall, 170 victims were interviewed at three time points (intake, disposition, and 6 months after disposition) to assess levels of court empowerment, reoccurrence of physical violence and psychological aggression, and perception of safety reported by victims. The results indicate that cases in the evidence-based policy jurisdiction, compared with the victim-centered policy jurisdiction, were significantly more likely to report reoccurrence of physical violence and psychological aggression. Victims who experienced physical violence during the 6 months after case disposition perceived themselves as less safe (i.e., they reported that physical violence was more likely to occur in the future).
... Nonparticipating victims differed from participating victims in that they did not wonder why the offence happened. Wemmers and Cyr (2005) found that non-participating victims in their study did not place great importance on the offence and did not want to invest their time in VOM. ...
Article
Independent studies reveal that when done properly, restorative justice (RJ) practices outperform criminal justice proceedings in meeting victims’ concerns for insight, voice, and fairness and, as a result, can have therapeutic value. However, only a small number of cases are referred to RJ, and victim-initiated RJ remains exceptional. Not every victim is interested in RJ, but many victims are unaware of it and hence miss out on its potential benefits. Introducing RJ to victims of crime should be done responsibly, and, therefore, it is important to understand whether and how victims want to be informed about RJ. We interviewed 34 victims of serious crime in Belgium and Canada and asked them what they had thought about being invited to participate in RJ. We categorized their experiences into what we labelled a “protective” and a “proactive” approach. A protective approach is characterized by an individualized offer and lack of systematic information about RJ, while a proactive approach favours a systematic offer and informed choice. Our findings indicate that victims of violent crime prefer to be proactively informed about their restorative options as long as the offer respects certain conditions. These include a guarantee of voluntary participation and RJ that is a complementary approach to criminal justice proceedings.
... Empirical research has been consistent in indicating that the relevance of genuine apologies may relate not just to victim's general satisfaction with RJ processes ( Coates & Ghem, 1989;Roberts, 1995) but also, more in particular, to victim's emotional restoration. Indeed, empirical findings show that apologies may have a 'therapeutical' effect on victims ( Scheff, 1998;Shapland et al., 2006;Strang, 2002;Umbreit, 1989;Umbreit & Vos, 2000;Wemmers & Cyr, 2005). On the contrary, perceiving apologies as insincere may be counterproductive ( Mika et al., 2004), because it may produce emotional harm and distress ( Shapland et al., 2006). ...
Chapter
Restorative justice (RJ) is an approach to justice in which victim and offender gather voluntarily to discuss the effects of the crime and to find ways to repair the harm done. Empirical findings suggest that offenders tend to spontaneously offer apologies to their victims. However, due to the ritualistic component of RJ and its possible (sometimes predefined, sometimes not) effect on the criminal procedure, some questions arise: How do victims perceive offenders' apology? Is sincerity the main issue that victims care about or is there more than sincerity for victims of crime? This chapter aims to discuss these questions by exploring three main issues, namely the physical aspect of the RJ ritual, the symbolic meaning that victims give to offender's apologies, and the relationship between apologies and victim's response. The authors will draw conclusions related to the implications of these questions for practice and will reflect on them from a social perspective.
... For example, victims often reported feeling less fearful of re-victimization, more capable of expressing their feelings fully, exercising more control within the session than other participants, and viewing the process as a "journey of healing" [5,40,60,63,64]. Victim participants in restorative justice programs also showed improvement in their perceptions of psychological and physical health [45,73]. ...
Article
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This article discusses issues that restorative justice programs may face during implementation and lessons learned from an exploratory study. We examined various perspectives of multiple participants who experienced a Victim-Offender Mediation (VOM) program in a mid-sized Midwestern city in the U.S. The primary data source comprised 34 interviews with 37 participants including adult crime victims, juvenile offenders and their parents, mediators, and representatives from referring agencies. Observations complemented the interview data. Findings revealed patterns of victim marginalization during the processes used: victims were not prepared appropriately; were at times pressured by mediators to behave in certain ways; and, occasionally felt intimidated by offenders and/or their families. We discuss some factors that may have influenced the emergence of these patterns. This study revealed gaps between the guiding principles of restorative justice theory and field practices, particularly sensitivity toward victims to meet their needs. We suggest that restorative justice programs should consider using a monitoring system to ensure that the processes used remain consistent with the values and principles of restorative justice.
... Restorative justice, a popular movement in the legal system, seeks to restore the balance of justice by including the victims and perpetrators in the process. Research has shown that restoring a sense of justice after a crime leads to greater public satisfaction with the justice system (Van Camp & Wemmers, 2013) and improves the well-being of crime victims (Strang et al., 2006;Wemmers & Cyr, 2005). Though many restorative justice programs seek to increase the involvement of the victim (Mika, Achilles, Halbert, Amstutz, & Zehr, 2004), perpetrators, too, have a role. ...
Article
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Researchers have suggested that females and males consider different factors when making legal decisions; females consider offender remorse more whereas males consider more tangible punishments, such as serving time. The current study investigates gender differences when making legal decisions. The participants (n = 596) read one of three parole scenarios (armed robbery, arson, or drug trafficking) where inmate remorse and time served were manipulated, and decided whether to grant or deny parole. The results show that the participants were less likely to grant parole to the armed robbery inmate, followed by arson and drug trafficking. Additionally, time served affected decisions more consistently than remorse shown, regardless of participant gender. Contrary to hypotheses, women rated the inmates more positively when they had served the majority of their time. The current study suggests that time served is an important predictor of decisions, and that remorse may not be enough to make people agree to reduce punishment or grant freedom. © 2016 The Australian and New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law
... While only a small number of victims actually received reparation or compensation, some victims reported additional victimization, or re-victimization, which is often manifested by expressions of enhanced fear, depression, distress and unresolved anger. More recently, Wemmers and Cyr (2005) reported a similar finding when a small proportion of victims spoke of feeling worse after their participation in VOM when offenders refused to take responsibility for their actions. Wemmers (2002) also documented that some victims reported feeling pressured to participate in RJ processes and some were even upset by the invitation to participate in an RJ process, saying that it caused them fear, anger and feelings of marginalization. ...
Article
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Despite claims that restorative justice is “victim centered,” and deliberately focused on healing harms to victims, some studies report that particular applications of restorative justice may not be fully consistent with its fundamental principles and values. Under such circumstances these programs may focus on outcomes (e.g., rehabilitation of youthful offenders) rather than process, and in doing so, may fail to identify and respond effectively to victims' needs. To take a closer look at this phenomenon, this article examines a sample of published restorative justice studies that highlight ‘negative’ experiences of victims. Given a number of studies that indicate victims typically have satisfying experiences in restorative justice practices such reports of negative experiences and practices should be viewed as ‘outliers.’ However, such outliers may provide substantively meaningful insights that inform best practice standard for restorative justice. Implications are drawn for the use of restorative justice practices for youth justice.
... As described in chapter 6, several participants ascribed to the Photovoice process a "therapeutic impact." Transformative mediation and therapeutic family mediation are other dialogue processes to which therapeutic qualities have been credited (Alexander, 2008;Hallevy, 2011;Irving & Benjamin, 2002;Smyth & Moloney, 2003;Wemmers & Cyr, 2005). ...
Article
Local refugee resettlement sites are often overlooked as hotspots of conflict because of the unstated assumption that resettlement and escape from militarized conflict automatically mean peace. However, refugees are resettled in local communities into which old conflicts are imported, and where new ones emerge as refugees and locals need to find ways of coexisting despite cultural differences. This research was developed in response to calls by the US Office of Refugee Resettlement and the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations for grassroots-level data on the challenges faced by residents of resettlement communities and for the development of strategies for promoting intercultural understanding. This dissertation delineates the development of the Comprehensive Conflict Engagement Model, based on which the image- and dialogue-based Photovoice methodology was modified and applied as a practical conflict intervention. This work bridges the gap between conflict theory and practice by collecting bottom-up information about the dynamics that shape people’s lives in Clarkston, a refugee resettlement hub in Georgia, and exploring the utility of the CCEM applied through Photovoice as a comprehensive conflict engagement strategy that concurrently targets the internal, relational, and structural bases of conflict. The results suggest that the participants were generally satisfied with aspects of their environment on which they had an impact and dissatisfied when they were impacted uni-directionally, without reciprocal relationships and the power to actively shape their experiences. The results further demonstrate that a CCEM-based adaptation of Photovoice is a suitable comprehensive conflict engagement strategy for practitioners operating at the community level.
... addition to criminal prosecution, or in prison populations (Latimer et al., 2005;Sherman et al., 2015;Stewart et al., 2018;Strang et al., 2006;Wemmers & Cyr, 2005;Zebel, Schreurs, & Ufkes, 2017). More recently, such practices have also been employed to varying degrees in forensic mental health hospitals in Australia, Great Britain and the Netherlands (Drennan & Cooper, 2018;Power, 2017;van Denderen, Verstegen, de Vogel, & Feringa, 2019). ...
Article
Victim-offender contact has been studied extensively in prisons, but research on contact between victims and mentally disordered offenders in forensic mental health settings is lacking. Therefore, an exploratory study was conducted on contact between victims and offenders in four Dutch forensic psychiatric hospitals. These offenders have committed serious (sexually) violent offenses, for which they could not be held fully responsible due to severe psychopathology. During the mandatory treatment, it is possible for offenders and their victims to engage in contact with each other if both parties agree to this. To explore the conditions under which this contact is suitable, we interviewed 35 social workers about their experiences in 57 cases from four Dutch forensic psychiatric hospitals. Findings demonstrated that, according to the social workers, no type of offense or psycho-pathology were obvious exclusion criteria for victim-offender contact. Social workers described offenders' problem awareness, stable psychiatric condition, and ability to keep to agreements as important factors that enable victim-offender contact. Implications and suggestions for future research are provided.
... Other evaluation studies have also highlighted co-option of RJ practices as a part of their overall findings (Choi, Bazemore, & Gilbert, 2012). Several evaluation studies have reported that although many victims were satisfied with the way their case was dealt with, a smaller number of victims showed dissatisfaction or felt re-victimized after RJ practices (Morris & Maxwell, 1997;Strang, 2002;Wemmers, 2002;Wemmers & Cyr, 2005). Although the reasons varied and some were attributed to offenders' attitudes and behaviors rather than practices (Daly, 2003b;Gerkin, 2008), one of the most common reasons given for negative outcomes was lack of care and attention toward victims, such as lack of preparation for victims (Choi & Gilbert, 2010;Umbreit, Vos, Coates, & Lightfoot, 2005) or excessive focus on offenders Strang, 2002). ...
Preprint
Restorative justice (RJ) encompasses a widely diverging set of practices whereby those most affected by crime are encouraged to meet, to discuss the effects of harms caused by one party to another, and to agree upon the best possible redress of harms when appropriate. In its inception in the late 1970s, RJ was conceptualized and developed as an alternative to formal criminal justice practices. Since this time, however, RJ has largely moved from being an alternative to criminal justice practices to an ‘alternative’ practice within criminal justice systems. This institutionalization has resulted in the significant growth of RJ practices, but has also resulted in RJ being used for criminal justice system goals that are at odds with the needs of victims or offenders. This paper examines the use of the Youth Justice Group Conferencing Program in Victoria, Australia. Drawing from interviews with conference conveners, our research highlights problems related to administrative ‘constraints’ and ‘co-options’ in conferencing in terms of referrals, preparation of conference participants, and victim participation. Following presentation of findings, we concludewith a discussion of implications for the use of RJ within a highly institutionalized setting.
... In most cases, these agreements consisted of a monetary sum, community service, or services rendered directly to the victim, and around 80-90% of the agreements were respected. Not surprisingly, victim satisfaction with these programs is also high (Umbreit et al. 2001;Wemmers and Canuto 2002;Strang 2002;Wemmers and Cyr 2005). ...
Chapter
Restitution consists of an amount paid by the offender to the victim in order to make redress for the harm suffered, which helps lighten the financial burden of crime that is imposed on victims. According to the United Nations’ Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power, governments are encouraged to review their practices, regulations and laws to consider restitution as an available sentencing option in criminal cases in addition to other criminal sanctions (Article 9). The aim of the UN Declaration is to “assist governments and the international community in their efforts to secure justice and assistance for victims of crime” (Article 3). However, based on an analysis of legal practice and research regarding restitution for victims, it is argued that current policy and practice in Canada stops short of helping victims and, as such, fails to respect the spirit of the UN Declaration. Reparative justice is presented as a victim-centred approach, which takes a broader view of reparations and focuses on the needs of victims of crime.
... Several researchers studying restorative justice have also observed a very high rate of satisfaction among participants in victim-offender mediation who frequently perceive the process and the result as fair (Umbreit, Coates & Vos 2001;Wemmers & Canuto 2002;Strang 2002;Wemmers & Cyr 2005;Van Camp 2016). According to Carriere, Malsch, Vermunt and De Keijser (1998), victims are generally more satisfied with restitution when they suffer less psychological damages and when their damages are primarily material. ...
... From a victims' perspective, focusing on the effects of one specific crime does not always make sense, and this can be quite frustrating for them as it does not fully recognise the complexity of their lived experience. Recognition and validation are important for victims and their healing process (Hoyle & Batchelor, 2018;Van Camp, 2014;Wemmers, 1996bWemmers, , 2013Wemmers & Cyr, 2005). Therapeutic jurisprudence recognises victims and offenders as persons and addresses how responses to victimisation impact their emotional well-being. ...
... In view of the increased likelihood of prosocial behaviour following adversity, it is pertinent to wonder whether prosocial motives contribute to victim participation in RJ. Retrospective studies on victim appreciation of RJ, used in response to a variety of crimes committed by juvenile or adult offenders, suggest that victims value RJ for being beneficial for themselves as well as for the offender and society (for example, Doak and O'Mahony, 2006;Umbreit et al., 2006;Wemmers and Cyr, 2005;Van Camp, 2014). Staub and Vollhardt (2008: 274) propose that '[r]estorative justice programs are likely to both strengthen the self and create a more positive attitude towards human beings in general, thereby promoting [altruism born of suffering]'. ...
Article
Restorative justice (RJ) promotes a constructive dialogue between the victim of a crime and the offender. Restorative practices have been credited for allowing victims to move on from victimization. This paper goes beyond victim appreciation of RJ and addresses what motivates victims to agree to communicate with their offender. Victim-participants were interviewed at the start of a restorative intervention and again after its conclusion, with the aim of identifying reasons for participation and exploring whether these evolve as a restorative procedure progresses. Discourses reveal that victims hoped that interaction with their adult or young offender would advance insight and healing as well as help the offender. Shifts in motivation over time were only subtle and many respondents manifested prosocial intentions (for example to help the offender) early on.
... Other evaluation studies have also highlighted co-option of RJ practices as a part of their overall findings (Choi et al., 2012). Several evaluation studies have reported that although many victims were satisfied with the way their case was dealt with, a smaller number of victims showed dissatisfaction or felt re-victimized after RJ practices (Morris & Maxwell, 1997;Strang, 2002;Wemmers, 2002;Wemmers & Cyr, 2005). Although the reasons varied and some were attributed to offenders' attitudes and behaviors rather than practices (Daly, 2003b;Gerkin, 2008), one of the most common reasons given for negative outcomes was lack of care and attention toward victims, such as lack of preparation for victims (Choi & Gilbert, 2010;Umbreit, Vos, Coates, & Lightfoot, 2005) or excessive focus on offenders Strang, 2002). ...
Article
Full-text available
Restorative justice (RJ) encompasses a widely diverging set of practices whereby those most affected by crime are encouraged to meet, to discuss the effects of harms caused by one party to another, and to agree upon the best possible redress of harms when appropriate. In its inception in the late 1970s, RJ was conceptualized and developed as an alternative to formal criminal justice practices. Since this time, however, RJ has largely moved from being an alternative to criminal justice practices to an ‘alternative’ practice within criminal justice systems. This institutionalization has resulted in the significant growth of RJ practices, but has also resulted in RJ being used for criminal justice system goals that are at odds with the needs of victims or offenders. This paper examines the use of the Youth Justice Group Conferencing Program in Victoria, Australia. Drawing from interviews with conference conveners, our research highlights problems related to administrative ‘constraints’ and ‘co-options’ in conferencing in terms of referrals, preparation of conference participants, and victim participation. Following presentation of findings, we conclude with a discussion of implications for the use of RJ within a highly institutionalized setting.
... Victims choose not to participate for a variety of reasons. Studies have found reasons associated with the meeting itself (i.e., negative evaluation of the potential meeting; M.S. Umbreit et al., 2004), the offender (i.e., being afraid of the offender or tend to perceive more negatively; Bolivar, 2013), the victim's characteristics and self-related concerns (i.e., selfimage, being afraid of not being able to cope with the meeting; Bolivar, 2013), the victimoffender relationship (i.e., victims of unknown offenders tend to present lower perceptions of damage and better perceptions of the offender than victims of known offenders; Bolivar, 2013;Vanfraechem et al., 2015), and the context (i.e., reactions of significant others or supporters; M.S. Umbreit et al., 2004;Wemmers & Cyr, 2005). ...
Article
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Victim-offender conferencing programs have expanded the type of victims involved in restorative rituals. However, little research has examined how variations in victim presence might impact these interventions. The aim of this study was to examine whether conferences involving actual victims resulted in higher reparation completion and how surrogate characteristics might impact reparation outcomes. Using regression modeling, we estimated how the variables of interest predicted reparation completion. Conferences with surrogates had a higher probability of completion than those with actual victims. Using surrogates may be a promising strategy to expand restorative justice practices when actual victim participation is not possible.
... Lastly, given the complex emotional and psychological dynamics during a restorative justice conference, future researchers should pay attention to the interactions between the values of the victim and those of the offender when determining the benefits of the restorative justice process (Choi et al., 2012). For example, Wemmers and Cyr (2005) found that some victims felt worse after a conference if the offender would not take responsibility, which may reflect a conflict in the importance of benevolence values for the victim compared to the 38 offender. This suggests that understanding the dynamics between values of those participating in a conference is an important direction for future research. ...
Article
Restorative justice is a process whereby offenders and their victims communicate to address the harm caused by the crime. Currently, there is little research looking at what characterises victims and offenders who are willing to participate in this process, who benefits, and what changes occur after participating. Personal values may be important in understanding such questions because they can influence human behaviour, appraisals of behaviour, and can change following life experiences. Hence, the aim of this study was to investigate the role that the values within Schwartz’s value theory may have in answering these questions. This was accomplished through a thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews with 12 restorative justice facilitators. Consistently, the motivations they observed for both victims and offenders participating in restorative justice included themes of prosocial values. Additionally, prosocial values were among those highlighted as being important for the realisation of the benefits of restorative justice. There was also some preliminary evidence that this process may change what values are important for both victims and offenders. Overall, these findings have implications for restorative justice providers; a greater understanding of motivations, who will benefit, and how restorative justice can be presented to appeal to a wide audience.
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La victimización sexual durante la infancia constituye un problema de elevada frecuencia en nuestro país, que puede tener graves repercusiones para el desarrollo y la salud integral de los niños, niñas y adolescentes. En este artículo se presenta una revisión del modelo europeo Barnahus, Las Casas de los Niños, para su posible implementación en nuestro país. Este pionero modelo da respuesta a las problemáticas generadas por la forma de trabajo actual en el proceso de notificación, evaluación y denuncia de la victimización sexual, reduciendo la multiplicidad de pruebas y agentes que intervienen en el caso, promoviendo la formación y coordinación entre los profesionales, eliminando la confusión que generan los diversos protocolos de actuación, protegiendo los derechos del menor y asegurando una intervención adecuada para este y su familia.
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Dr. Lawrence Nassar was the national medical coordinator of the United States of America Gymnastics (USAG), gymnastics team physician/assistant professor at Michigan State University, and the USAG artistic team physician who sexually abused many young women and children under the guise of medical treatments. In an unprecedented legal event, Judge Aquilina allowed anyone who had been impacted by Nassar’s abuse to participate in the pre-sentencing phase by reading a victim impact statement. Judge Aqualina listened to 156 impacted speakers and responded with personalized messages. This paper will examine Judge Aquilina’s responses to the victim impact statements through the lens of therapeutic jurisprudence with a focus on trauma-informed themes and messages of empowerment. Concrete examples of therapeutic jurisprudence will be provided as well as suggestions for how these behavioral and relational elements can be translated to inform judicial trainings. Kaylor, L., Weaver, T. L., & Kelton, K. (2022). “Leave Your Pain Here:” an Illustration of Therapeutic Jurisprudence Through the Remarks of Judge Rosemarie Aquilina From The State of Michigan versus Lawrence Nassar. Journal of Qualitative Criminal Justice & Criminology. https://doi.org/10.21428/88de04a1.9af43c35
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The approval in Spain of the State Agreement to Combat Gender Violence in December 2017 confirmed the prohibition of applying restorative justice mechanisms to gender violence cases of was instituted by the 2004 Organic Law on Integral Protection Measures against Gender Violence and maintained by the 2015 Law on the Statute of the Crime Victim. This paper offers reasons based on the advantages attributed to the implementation of this ideal of justice in these cases, as well as on the international and comparative normative situation, the support that such implementation could find in certain feminist academy sector or the positive evaluations of results obtained by restorative justice programs oriented to cases of gender violence in order to defend the adequacy of modifying this political-criminal orientation. On this basis, the paper concludes by proposing the basic outlines that should include a restorative justice program applicable to these cases.
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Commentators have frequently claimed that restorative justice (RJ) programs hold the potential to deliver therapeutic outcomes. However, if we are serious about integrating a therapeutic agenda into criminal justice, our current understanding of the mechanics of RJ is incomplete. Having established a case for doing justice better, proponents of RJ now need to think in much more concrete terms about the ways in which the process is designed in order to reap a tangible sense of forgiveness, reconciliation, and closure for victims of crime. From the evidence to date, it is suggested that there are four ‘keys’ which may be used to unlock the therapeutic potential of RJ. These are: (1) personal narratives; (2) apology; (3) forgiveness; and (4) procedural justice within restorative programs. A major challenge for future research in the area is to attempt to measure how these aspects of RJ operate at a micro-level to transform emotions.
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Family treatment court (FTC) is an example of an increasing number of problem-centered courts currently operating in the United States. Problem-centered courts such as FTC encompass the ideas of therapeutic jurisprudence but operate within the broader court system. Presented are the results of an FTC case study that seeks to understand the evolution of courtroom norms and practice over time. Observations of courtroom interactions and interviews with courtroom personnel show that initial observations are consistent with the ideals of therapeutic jurisprudence. However, over time, daily demands and pressures on the courtroom undermine the therapeutic approach.
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Background: Restorative justice emerges as a theoretical-practical approach to the criminal legal system, in which the reparation of damage of the victim is a central point. However, the growing empirical production referring to the effects of this approach on victims is sometimes shown to be weakened or dispersed, focusing mainly on their satisfaction. Objective: The present work intended to systematically evaluate the empirical production of the restorative justice field, to aggregate and examine information in the literature regarding the psychological impacts on victims who participated in restorative practices. Methods: A search was made using electronic databases to identify quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-method studies, published between January 2000 and December 2020 that reported psychological impacts on real victims of crimes, who participated in mediations/conferences victim-offender. Results: 35 studies were identified as focusing on the psychological impacts on victims resulting from restorative practices. These studies have shown effects on post-traumatic symptomatology, on the emotions and emotional needs resulted from victimization, as well as on the victims' perceptions of their offenders. Conclusions: The present research showed that restorative justice practices have a positive psychological impact on victims, who are frequently forgotten in conventional justice, and that some of these impacts persist over time.
Article
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One of the debates of restorative justice (RJ) literature is the possible effect that diversionary restorative justice practices (that is, practices implemented within the criminal procedure that may have a direct influence on the outcome of the legal procedure) may have on victims’ experiences. It has been argued that, when implemented within the criminal justice system, restorative justice runs the risk of becoming offender-oriented. This presentation aims to share and discuss results of a qualitative research focused on the experiences of victims of crime who were contacted by Basque and Catalonian mediation programs. Fifty victims were interviewed before mediation and thirty-five were interviewed six months after. These interviewees included participants of direct and indirect mediation as well as victims who refused to take part in mediation. It will be argued that victims value the room for dialogue offered by RJ diversionary schemes but, at the same time, see mediation as a strategy determined by the characteristics of the criminal justice system.
Chapter
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Slachtoffers van strafbare feiten en daders die deze plegen hebben in Nederland de mogelijkheid om met de andere partij in contact te treden na het delict. Deze ‘slachtoffer-dadergesprekken’ vinden plaats onder begeleiding van professionele bemiddelaars van Slachtoffer in Beeld, en deelname is voor beide partijen uitsluitend op vrijwillige basis. De mogelijkheid van dergelijke contacten is echter nog bij weinig Nederlanders bekend, en beperkte kennis over deze gesprekken gaat regelmatig gepaard met enkele misvattingen. Zo worden slachtoffers en daders niet zomaar ‘bij elkaar gezet in een kamer’ en is er een uitgebreide voorbereiding door bemiddelaars (en een protocol dat wordt gevolgd) om te voorkomen dat het gesprek ‘fout gaat’ of dient om ‘wraak te nemen’. Een volgende veelgehoorde vraag is dan: “Wat doen die gesprekken dan precies met slachtoffers en daders?” In deze bijdrage worden de belangrijkste bevindingen besproken van een kwantitatieve studie met gestructureerde interviews onder slachtoffers en daders die antwoord geeft op die vraag.
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Les besoins des victimes d’actes criminels violents sont multiples. Les victimes ont, entre autres, besoin de se sentir soutenues et reconnues en tant que victimes et de participer aux procedures judiciaires. Plusieurs etudes scientifiques revelent que les interventions reparatrices ont la capacite de repondre a ces besoins. Bien que les victimes ne soient pas toujours interessees par une telle approche, celles qui acceptent d’y participer sont effectivement satisfaites de l’offre reparatrice. On pourrait depasser l’interrogation sur la pertinence d’offrir des mesures reparatrices aux victimes de crimes violents et plutot se demander quel est le meilleur moment pour le faire. Dans cet article, nous comparons les experiences des victimes de crimes violents qui ont participe a une intervention reparatrice soit avant, soit apres qu’une decision judiciaire a ete prise. Nous voulions savoir notamment quel est l’impact d’une reponse judiciaire sur l’appreciation de l’approche reparatrice et si la disponibilite d’une decision judiciaire est une condition pour l’appreciation de l’approche bilaterale de la justice reparatrice. Cette etude illustre aussi comment les victimes situent l’approche reparatrice par rapport au systeme judiciaire.
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Empirical studies indicate that violence against teachers is a globally prevalent phenomenon and has damaging negative effects on victimized teachers' physical and emotional well-being and teaching effectiveness. Nevertheless, limited empirical research has been conducted to identify factors affecting emotional distress among victimized teachers. This research contributes to the literature by exploring negative consequence of victimization and factors associated with victimized teachers' emotional distress in a South Korean context. The results indicate that students' verbal and noncontact physical aggression are highly correlated with teachers' emotional distress. Teachers' gender, student-oriented approach, and several incident characteristics (number of offending students, direct settlement with offending students) are significant predictors of emotional distress caused by either students' verbal threat or noncontact aggressive behaviors. Directions for future research and policy implications are discussed.
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The development of the Neighbourhood Justice Centre (NJC) in the Melbourne suburb of Collingwood is a first for Australia and reflects a universal growing interest in addressing the underlying causes of criminal behaviour and disadvantage as well as improving access to justice.By Tim Hasslet, School of Integrative Systems, University of Queensland, Chris Ballenden, Ponte Consulting; Saroj Godbole, Ponte Consulting; Kerry Walker, Director, Neighbourhood Justice Centre, Melbourne
Article
In the 1971 cult movie A Clockwork Orange, the main character Alexander de Large is thrown into prison after a night of excessive ultraviolence. In ?normal? circumstances, the regular night?outs with his buddies are limited to beating and raping helpless victims, yet this time Alex killed a woman by giving her a fatal blow to the forehead with a gigantic artificial penis. Alex is sentenced to fourteen years imprisonment. After spending two years behind bars, he hears rumours spreading in the prison about a new kind of treatment which could in a fortnight cure criminals of their criminal tendencies. Alex takes the opportunity to volunteer as a guinea pig for the new aversion therapy. An experimental substance ?No. 114? is pumped into his veins which makes him feel miserable. Next, Alex is strapped into a chair in a movie theatre and brutal scenes of violence, rape, and nazi?terror are projected on the screen. The conditioning sessions prove to be highly successful: nausea and vomiting prevent him from relapsing in his old habits. Movies such as A Clockwork Orange ridicule and satirise some penal practices which prevailed at the time, namely treatment programmes which promised to ?cure? criminals and prepare them for return in due course to the majority of (presumably) law?abiding citizens. At that time, movie director Stanley Kubrick did not pay any attention to what might have happened to the relatives of the murder victim. How did they cope with the loss of somebody close to them? Were they able to resume their lives' How did they feel about the way in which they were treated by police officers, prosecutors, and judges' Were they in need of therapy to recover from trauma or to alleviate post?traumatic stress symptoms' And so on. Obviously, to give the movie a victimological touch would have resulted in less interesting cinema; it would have directed viewers' attention away from a much more appealing and exotic topic: the dystopia of a brain?washing State and the painful consequences of an obsession with order, conformity, and lawfulness. Yet, at that time, victims were not only of minor importance to movie?makers; also in society at large they hardly received any attention, notwithstanding some early victimological activity at the fringes of criminology. Victims, as some rare voices complained at that time, seemed largely to be forgotten. By 2008 much has changed. Since the 1970s, victim surveys (which ask people about their victimisations and their experiences) have started to compile and map the impact of crime and the views of crime victims on a broad range of topics. This avalanche of numbers on victims has been complemented by qualitative research into their experiences and their dealings with the aftermath of crime. As such, this newly emerging focus on victims was able to provide an increasingly detailed picture of the other side of crime. Moreover, at the same time ? and partly coinciding with the former ? a victims' movement (or better: victim movements, since they draw their support from different corners of society ranging from feminist critiques of the patriarchal order to conservative preoccupations with getting tough on criminals) started to raise its voice and campaigned to turn victims' personal troubles into public issues, such as victims' rights and services.2 This reform movement, like any other, explores the limits of criminal law. Reformers, by definition, perceive the existing system to be inadequate: either it fails in doing the things it claims to do (and so we need to change the way it operates), or it should start doing other things (and so we need to change its ends). By looking at crime from different perspectives and the multiple reactions it provokes, reformers are able to highlight new, previously unseen, facets of the crime problem. As a result they question why and how we punish. Taken?for?granted reasons for justifying penalties may suddenly appear invalid, or other reasons, related to new aspects (such as victimisation), are added. Sometimes this reform activity aims at the formulation of new ?good consequences'; that is, the criminal justice system needs to incorporate certain ends that are deemed to be desirable, goods it should try to achieve. This is what philosophers of punishment call ?utilitarian? or ?consequentialist? reasoning. If we punish on the basis of such good consequences, so the argument goes, we will be able to punish and go to bed without running the risk of suffering from sleepless nights: the deliberate suffering of the punishee turns out to be justified. This consequentialist type of penal thinking will be at the centre of this chapter. In the next section we step back a number of centuries in order to demonstrate how a penal reform movement started to question prevailing ways of thinking about punishment. With the help of the insights of a new scientific discipline called ?criminology?, it aimed to instrumenalise late 19th century criminal law in order to make it more effective in the fight against crime, inter alia by trying to ?cure? criminals. In the third and fourth sections we return to the present. The plight of the crime victim poses new challenges for contemporary criminal law. It will be argued that a new kind of consequentialism is in the making which strives towards ?healing victims' and which avails itself of a therapeutic language to describe what these desired ?good consequences' are: closure, emotional restoration, trauma recovery, reducing post?traumatic stress, and so on. The fifth section will explore the limits of this form of victim?oriented therapeutic consequentialism.
Article
Restorative Justice in Practice addresses this need, analyzing the results of the implementation of three restorative justice schemes in England and Wales in the largest and most complete trial of restorative justice with adult offenders worldwide. It aims to bring out the practicalities of setting up and running restorative justice schemes in connection with criminal justice, the costs of doing so and the key professional and ethical issues involved.
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Desde hace algunos años se plantea la necesidad de incorporar dentro del sistema procesal penal mecanismos propios de la Justicia Restaurativa. Sin embargo aún persiste la discusión acerca de cómo debe ser el alcance de sus respuestas, particularmente lo relativo a la responsabilidad del autor y la reparación a la víctima. Este trabajo pretende establecer los presupuestos mínimos para que pueda estimarse efectiva la responsabilidad de quien haya cometido el hecho delictivo. En este sentido, surgen preguntas acerca de la necesidad de exigir el reconocimiento del hecho y compromisos de evitación, estableciéndose un paralelo con la pena, sobre todo desde la perspectiva de sus dimensiones comunicativas y aflictivas. Asimismo, se examina la reparación a la víctima, entendiendo que para la solución del conflicto penal se debe, necesariamente, considerar su restauración. En este orden, se analiza la naturaleza de los encuentros restaurativos y cómo estos deben entenderse.
Article
This article presents the results of a quantitative investigation to evaluate a penal mediation programme conducted in Catalonia. We assessed the degree to which the programme is able to achieve the objectives of restorative justice from the point of view of victims’ needs. The study basically confirmed the results obtained in other countries, underlining how the mediation process contributes to the emotional recovery of victims. After analysing the different factors involved, we have highlighted the capacity of restorative processes to provide victims with a better sense of justice than the criminal justice system both in terms of the procedural and therapeutic dimensions of justice.
Chapter
Presented in this chapter are the conclusions drawn from this study. I also identify policy recommendations for the design of future truth commissions to better respond to the needs of victims of mass violence. Several directions for future research are also outlined.
Chapter
This chapter develops the theoretical framework used to investigate the research question that guides this study by examining the theories behind why truth-telling has been believed to contribute to victim healing in post-conflict settings. Also depicted in this chapter is how voice may be a possible mechanism that can facilitate healing for victims of violence by enabling the creation of three possible pathways—empowerment, catharsis, and social acknowledgement—within the context of truth commission public hearings.
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Der Beitrag führt ein in die „Wissenschaft vom Opfer“ und damit in die Perspektive der Viktimologie. Es werden die wichtigsten Begriffe, Erkenntnisse und Forschungsergebnisse dieser relativ jungen Disziplin skizziert, um sodann nach problematischen Aspekten und „ungesunden“ Anteilen des gesellschaftlichen, institutionellen Umganges mit Opfern zu fragen. In diesem Zusammenhang werden überdies ausgewählte Konzepte und Theorien zur Deutung und Erklärung von Phänomenen sekundärer und tertiärer Viktimisierung vorgestellt, wie sie nicht nur, aber auch im Kontext staatlicher Konfliktverarbeitung vorkommen. Abschließend befragt der Autor seine Ausführungen daraufhin, wie sich eine Healthy Justice aus viktimologischer Perspektive darstellen könnte.
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This chapter reviews two studies on restorative justice conducted in the past several years. One examines variability in the conference process and the second compares outcomes for court and conference cases. The studies show the strengths and weaknesses of restorative justice from a victim’s perspective. The conference-only study demonstrates the limits of restorative justice in helping victims to recover from crime, and it suggests that some victims are more able to engage in a restorative justice process than others. The conference–court comparison demonstrates the limits of the court in attempting to adjudicate and sanction crime, and the court’s failure to vindicate victims. Restorative justice advocates and critics must grasp the significance and ‘truth’ of both studies. Advocates should adopt more realistic expectations for victims in a restorative process while critics should be mindful of the court’s limited ability to vindicate victims.
Article
1. The Belief in a Just World.- 2. The First Experiment: The Effect of Fortuitous Reward.- 3. The Second Experiment: Observers' Reactions to the "Innocent Victim".- 4. The Third Experiment: The Martyred and Innocent Victims.- 5. Three Experiments That Assess the Effects of Sex and Educational Background of Observers, Experimenter and Observer Influence on One Another, and the Reactions of "Informed" and Nonimplicated Observers.- 6. Reactions to the Belief in a Just World Theory and Findings: The "Nay-Sayers".- 7. Condemning the Victimized.- 8. The Assignment of Blame.- 9. The Response to Victimization: Extreme Tests of the Belief in a Just World.- 10. Who Believes in a Just World: Dimension or Style.- 11. Deserving versus Justice.- References.
Article
The present study attempts to address the question of how victim notification influences the relationship between victims and the criminal justice system. It examines empirically the effects of victim notification on their satisfaction with the performance of the public prosecution, their feelings of obligation to obey the law and law-abiding behavior. It does so by reporting the results of a survey that was conducted as part of the evaluation of new measures to improve the position of victims within the criminal justice system, which are currently being introduced in the Netherlands. Procedures that allow the passive participation of victims in the criminal justice procedure are judged to be more fair than procedures which exclude victims. Moreover, how victims are treated by the prosecution has a significant impact on their subsequent attitudes towards authorities and their law abiding behaviour. Following a review of the literature concerning the impact of victim participation in the criminal justice system and a description of recent developments in the treatment of victims in the Dutch criminal procedure, the method and results of the present study are described. The paper closes with a discussion of the findings and their implications for victim policy.
Article
The "victims' movement" can claim considerable success in putting the interests of crime victims on the political agenda in North America and Europe. Pioneering groups of volunteers and activists laid the groundwork for financial, practical, and psychological support services that are now funded by government on a significant scale. In the United States, legislation creates rights for victims to participate in the criminal justice process. It has not been firmly established how many (and what kinds of) victims are seriously in need of assistance, or what form this should take: research findings are contradictory and confusing, plagued by methodological and definitional problems. Service delivery also presents difficult dilemmas because many victims will not ask for help; high take-up rates emerge only when a personal approach is made. Although there is evidence of high levels of client satisfaction with victim services, research has not established that service provision greatly affects recovery from the ...
Article
A review of recent research demonstrates that people are more willing to accept decisions when they feel that those decisions are made through decision-making procedures they view as fair. Studies of procedural justice judgements further suggest that people evaluate fairness primarily through criteria that can be provided to all the parties to a conflict: whether there are opportunities to participate; whether the authorities are neutral; the degree to which people trust the motives of the authorities; and whether people are treated with dignity and respect during the process. These findings are optimistic and suggest that authorities have considerable ability to bridge differences and interests and values through the use of fair decision-making procedures. The limits to the effectiveness of such procedural approaches are also outlined. Une recension des recherches recentes montre que les gens sont prets a accepter des decisions quand ils sentent que ces decisions sont prises a la suite d'une procedure decisionnelle qu'ils considerent equitable. De plus, les etudes sur les jugements dans les procedure judiciaires suggerent que les gens evaluent l'equite prioritairement sur la base des criteres fournies a toutes les parties en conflit: possibilites de participation: neutralite des autorites; confiance dans les motifs des autorites; et procedure qui traite les personnes avec dignite et respect. Ces resultats optimistes suggerent que les autorites peuvent, par des procedures equitables de prise de decision, concilier des differences, des interets et des valeurs. Les limites a l'efficacite de ces approches procedurales sont aussi soulignees.
Article
RÉSUMÉ Depuis une vingtaine d'années, le secteur de la justice des mineurs au Québec a connu de nombreux bouleversements. Cette période a notamment été marquée par la tenue de plusieurs commissions d'étude ainsi que par l'adoption de la Loi sur la protection de la jeunesse et de la Loi sur les jeunes contrevenants. Elle se caractérise également par la mise en place des premières expériences de justice réparatrice reposant sur la médiation. Dans cet article, les auteurs cherchent d'abord à situer dans quel contexte s'est développée la médiation au Québec, depuis la mise sur pied du Projet d'intervention jeunesse en 1977 jusqu'à la création des premiers organismes de justice alternative. En se penchant sur les raisons pouvant expliquer le lent développement de la médiation au Québec, les auteurs examinent notamment l'hypothèse qui met en cause le modèle protectionnel et sa prééminence dans les institutions pour mineurs. Une telle dynamique, qui aurait pour effet d'amener les professionnels à concentrer leur attention sur le développement des jeunes au détriment des besoins des victimes d'actes criminels, expliquerait le recours peu fréquent à la médiation. Les auteurs se penchent ensuite sur l'évolution des pratiques de médiation dans les organismes de justice alternative. Ils montrent que les façons de faire ont connu d'importantes modifications, lesquelles sont à mettre au compte de l'influence de différentes perspectives européennes et américaines. Ainsi, les débats sur le potentiel réparateur de la médiation, loin d'être terminés, animent encore le milieu et soulèvent d'importantes questions. Plus que jamais, la nécessité de recherches descriptives et évaluatives sur le potentiel de la médiation en matière criminelle se fait donc sentir.
Article
In less than a decade, therapeutic jurisprudence, which began as a scholarly approach to mental health law, has emerged as a mental health approach to law generally. In this essay, one of the founders of this new field offers a further elaboration of the theory of therapeutic jurisprudence and a response to the key issues raised by commentators and critics. This essay discusses the relationship between therapeutic jurisprudence and other schools of jurisprudence and analyzes the approach's normative focus and its limits. It also addresses how "therapeutic" should be defined, whether the approach is paternalistic, whether the limits of social science methodology doom the enterprise, how therapeutic and other potentially conflicting values can be reconciled, and how the law should respond when such conflicts persist. Finally, the essay charts the path of therapeutic jurisprudence and analyzes new developments in the field. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Criminology was born in the age of reason to apply “reason” to justice, tempering the expression of moral indignation with the economics of deterrence. Modern criminology is now poised for reinventing justice around the emotions of victims, offenders, and society. One prime example is restorative justice. Others include wider use of biomedical mental health treatments for offenders, programs to make justice officials more aware of the emotional impact of their words on citizens, and programs to help justice officials manage their own emotions. Research can advance theory and innovations as a basis for a new paradigm of “emotionally intelligent justice.”
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The only way in our opinion to account for this striving for justice and truth is by the analysis of the whole history of man, socially and individually. We find then that for everybody who is powerless, justice and truth are the most important weapons in the fight for his freedom and growth (Fromm, 1942/2002, p. 248).
Article
The family group conference is an innovation introduced into New Zealand law as a means of resolving child protection and youth justice cases. The law requires the conference to include the offender, the victim, the extended family, and other relevant parties. This article reviews New Zealand research and commentary, and publications reporting on experiences with the methods in other countries. The discussion emphasizes problems in adapting a method based on one culture to a different culture and social organization. The article also considers the law from the viewpoint of therapeutic jurisprudence. Although the research is sparse, the FGC has strong promise for resolving problems, enhancing the sense of community and participation, and empowering families.
Article
In the aftermath of crime, victims must decide whether to seek justice. An encounter with the legal system offers major potential benefits to crime victims, but also exposes them to significant risks. Victims who file civil or criminal complaints are subject to the rules and procedures of a complex legal system, where their mental health and safety may be of marginal concern, and where the potential for retraumatization may be high. This paper reviews the social and psychological barriers that discourage victim participation in the legal system, and existing studies that document the impact of participation on victims' mental health. Prospective longitudinal research focusing on victims in the legal system is recommended.
Une équité à toute mesure : enquête auprès de victimes de jeunes contrevenants
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attentes et perceptions des victimes à l'égard de la justice réparatrice : analyse documentaire critique. Ottawa: Ministère de la Justice
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