We are more than the worst thing that has every happened to us. Crime creates a situationally induced involuntary and unlikely relationship between the victim or victims survivors and the offender. If you have been the victim of a crime or are connected to someone who has been deeply impacted by a crime, our current system seeks to separate and isolate you from information, participation, and the offender. Our advocacy, classes, coaching, and mediation offer a place to connect, tell your story, and integrate the harm that has been done so that healing can occur.
Victims and victim-survivors of a crime are often looking to the system to provide a sense of safety, vindication, accountability, and empowerment. Unfortunately, the criminal justice system is not set up to meet the needs of the victim or victim-survivors. The nature of the system excludes rather than includes, perpetuates confusion rather than offering engagement or information, and denies harm rather than directly addressing harm.
We have Victim Advocate Specialists who can assist you in navigating the system and getting what you need.
A trained advocate in navigating your needs through the process.
Someone who can hold your story in a way the system will not
A means to give victims/survivors more information, more options and more participation in the criminal justice process
Potential reduction of the adversarial nature of the process and its negative impact on victims/survivors
Potential reduction of further trauma often caused by the continued dehumanization of victims/survivors
Support typically authorized and paid for by the court
WHAT KINDS OF offenses qualify?
Victim Advocate Specialists can potentially be used for any type of incident. It can help victims of low-level crime and people who have experienced the most serious offenses. Certain offenses can pose particular challenges for the restorative process: sexual offences, hate crimes and domestic violence. All of which need to be handled by practitioners who have relevant skills and experience.
WHAT Can Victims and Survivors ask for?
Victim Advocate Specialists can support you in advocating for you to know what is possible and to assist you in identifying your needs and interests. Victim/survivor needs often fall within the following categories:
issues of procedure
issues of defense strategy
issues of courtesy
issues of alternative restitution
questions about the crime
return of property
WHAT KINDS OF offenses qualify?
Restorative justice can potentially be used for any type of incident. It can help victims of low-level crime and people who have experienced the most serious offenses. Certain offenses can pose particular challenges for the restorative process: sexual offences, hate crimes and domestic violence. All of which need to be handled by practitioners who have relevant skills and experience.
Victim Empowerment Classes: in person and teleconference/online
Victim Empowerment Group/Individual Coaching: teleconference/online (for victims and their loved ones)
Victim Offender Mediation: for victims who want to discuss with the offender how the crime impacted them, trauma informed preparation conducted by trained mediator sensitive to the needs of victims and their families.
1. Victim safety first.
2. Careful screening of cases.
3. Advanced preparation meetings.
4. Victim-driven choices including: mediation location, scheduling, seating, who speaks first, termination of session at any time.
5. Transparent procedures of processes.
6. Engagement with a diverse community-based advisory board.
7. Regular program evaluation and opportunities for feedback.
8. Highly skilled and ethical mediator.
9. Six months of follow up.
10. Ongoing opportunities for program engagement post mediation.
Why speak to offenders?
-Jean O'Hara, Homicide Survivor