Victim-Offender Dialogue (VOD) is a cautious, usually lengthy process of preparation leading toward the possibility of a face-to-face meeting between a crime victim/survivor and the offender who committed the crime. The program was created in response to recurring requests from victims to talk directly with the offenders who had harmed them. It was designed to be a safe way for victims and offenders to prepare for and have such a meeting. VOD is victim-initiated, victim-driven, and offender-sensitive. (Click here for VOD flyer.)
Trained VOD facilitators are the programs bedrock. Working in teams of two, they spend hours and hours with crime victims/survivors, hearing their stories and helping them identify and achieve what they individually want from dialogue (e.g., to find answers, tell a story, focus on impact, move beyond the event, hear an apology, offer forgiveness). Facilitators also spend time with offenders, hearing their stories as well and helping them consider past actions and possible impacts so that those offenders can be genuinely responsive toward their victims wishes. Through repeated separate meetings over time and through introspection, insight, and reality-testing, participants and facilitators work to reach a safe juncture for dialogue.
Requests from direct victims of domestic violence and victims not yet age 18 are not currently being accepted.
Requests involving offenders on probation or under parole supervision are not currently being accepted.
VOD preparation will not be allowed to overlap appeals, civil suits or parole or pardon processes.
An offender may choose to participate or not to participate and will be neither rewarded nor punished for the decision.
Unless there are extenuating circumstances, an offender who chooses to participate must admit guilt in the crime that is the focus of the dialogue.
The process can be stopped temporarily or permanently at any point by the facilitators, the victim, or the offender. Participation in preparation does not guarantee that a dialogue will take place.
The preparation process takes as long as it takes and leads to a single meeting.
The first step in requesting dialogue is to contact the Crime Victims Services Bureau.