Victim-Centered Victim Offender Dialogue
in Crimes of Severe Violence
20 Essential Principles for Corrections-Based Victim Services - v. 2.0*
Victim-Centered Victim Offender Dialogue (VOD) is:
1. A confidential post-conviction facilitated process initiated only by crime victims/survivors, sometimes many years after the conviction of the offender(s).
2. A process “centered” on meeting the victim/survivor’s needs through the corrections-based victim service agency in the state where the offender was convicted.
3. A process that must be completely voluntary for offenders, who must agree to participate in VOD preparation and dialogue without pressure or expectation.
4. A process in which participating offenders must be willing to acknowledge their role and responsibility in the crimes(s) of record.
5. A process that strives to keep all risk of physical and emotional harm to the victim/survivor and the offender at an absolute minimum.
6. A process that must allow either party to cease participation at any time during the preparation or dialogue.
7. A process that has absolutely no direct influence on the classification, custody, parole, probation, or release date status of the offender.
8. A process consisting of three distinct stages: a preparation stage, a dialogue stage, and a post-dialogue stage.
9. A process intended to lead to a one-time direct dialogue between the victim/survivor and the offender. It is overseen by one or two facilitators properly trained in the principles and practices of Victim-Centered VOD preparation and dialogue facilitation.
10. A private and personal process for the victim/survivor that is designed to restore, as much as possible, the sense of “choice” and “control” taken from them.
11. A process that requires a sufficient number of confidential, preparatory pre-dialogue conversation sessions between the facilitator(s) and the survivor, and the facilitator(s) and the offender.
12. A process to be conducted with skill and care by facilitators sufficiently trained in recognized crime victim issues. This helps enable victims/survivors to be fully heard, and to more thoroughly address certain persisting unanswered questions.
13. A process to be conducted with skill and care by facilitators properly trained in recognized offender issues. This enables offenders who have the capacity to more fully understand how their choices and actions impacted their victims, and allows them the opportunity to take a sufficient degree of responsibility for those choices and actions.
14. A process that, from beginning to end, must be confidential for the victim/survivor, the offender, the facilitator(s), and any other support or program persons mutually agreed upon, or required by agency policy, who are involved in the preparation and dialogue processes.
15. A process that is primarily intended to achieve the objectives in Principle 1. There is no uninvited expectation of forgiveness, reconciliation, exculpation, or other cultural, spiritual, or religious imperative unless this is specifically part of what the survivor wishes to achieve or chooses to convey to the offender during the VOD.
16. A process designed to lead to a dialogue that is structured, as much as is practically possible, according to the needs of the victim/survivor, subject to the policies of the facility where the offender is housed.
17. A process that provides for immediate and separate follow-up debriefings between the facilitator(s) and the victim/survivor, and the facilitator(s) and the offender.
18. A process that provides for a follow-up, within 30 to 60 days of the VOD, between the facilitator(s) and the offender alone and the facilitator(s) and the survivor alone.
19. A process that requires all facilitators, victims/survivors, and offenders to comply with all policies and procedures of the Victim Service agency or department under whose authority their cases are facilitated.
20. A process that requires all facilitators, victims/survivors, and offenders to comply with all policies and procedures of the correctional facilities or supervisory authorities under which the offender in each VOD case is housed or supervised.
National Association of Victim Assistance in Corrections
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