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Victim Offender Dialogue Frequently Asked Questions

What is Victim Offender Dialogue (VOD)?

Victim Offender Dialogue (VOD) is a program through the Victim Services Program that prepares survivors and surviving family members of victims of severe and violent crimes to meet with the offender in their case to discuss the impact of the crime or has questions answered. A VOD is an opportunity for a victim of a serious crime to meet with the offender in a controlled environment, to engage in a purposeful conversation. A VOD requires intensive assessment and preparation for both victim and offender.

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What is the difference between Mediation and Victim Offender Dialogue?

Unlike Mediation, the purpose of Victim Offender Dialogue is not to compromise or resolve a conflict because the offender has already been convicted of the crime.

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Are victims or offenders required to do this?

Never. While the process is victim-initiated the offender's participation is also voluntary. Either participant may withdraw at any time. Physical and emotional safety and security needs are continuously reviewed. The victim, offender, facilitator or Victim Service Director can terminate the VOD process or actual dialogue at any time as a result of these concerns. The process remains voluntary throughout.

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Why would a victim or a family survivor choose to do this?

Because the victim might want:

  • To hear why the crime happened
  • To tell the offender how it affected them and others
  • To have questions answered
  • To lessen the fear of a repeat crime and/or retribution
  • To have the offender address the victim's needs
  • To further their healing process

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Why would an offender choose to do this?

Because the offender might want:

  • To describe to the victim what progress and changes have been made since the crime.
  • To show remorse and/or accountability
  • To answer specific questions
  • To move toward making amends
  • To address the stated needs of the victim
  • To do something to help the victim

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What would be considered a severe and violent crime?

Some examples include homicide, DUI death resulting, arson, assault, attempted murder, kidnapping, and abduction. Other crimes could be considered as well.

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Will domestic violence cases be eligible for Victim Offender Dialogue?

No. Domestic violence cases will not be considered eligible to go through the Victim Offender Dialogue process. Surviving family members of a domestic homicide would be eligible for a Dialogue.

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How would a victim request to do a Dialogue?

The victim or survivor must make an official request (verbally or in writing) to the Department of Corrections' Director of Victim Services. (888)810-1847

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Does the offender have to be incarcerated?

No, the offender may be incarcerated or under supervision in the community. However, for security purposes, Dialogues taking place in a correctional facility are preferred.

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Who will be facilitating the actual dialogues?

Dialogues will be facilitated by individuals who will have been screened and participated in an extensive Department of Corrections sponsored training, and who have agreed to abide by all of the guidelines and procedures established by the Victim Offender Dialogue Program.

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How long does the process take?

There is a significant preparation period that both the victim and the offender must participate in prior to the actual dialogue. The length of the preparation process depends on the needs in each case. It is possible that despite the preparation a dialogue will not take place.

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Can participation change the release status of an offender?

No. The process will only occur at the victim's request and is not intended to have an effect on parole, judicial/appellate process, sentence commutation, clemency, or release decisions.

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When will the Department of Corrections begin to offer Victim Offender Dialogue to victims?

The Victim Offender Dialogue program is taking referrals for the program. If you have questions, need information or would like to request a dialogue, please contact the Director of Victim Services at (888)810-1847.

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