What is the VORP
With the assistance of trained mediators, the Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program (VORP) brings offenders face-to-face with the victims of their crimes. By facing their victims and learning first-hand the effects of their crimes, offenders come to realize that they have hurt a real person.
What Is the Purpose of the VORP?
Crime damages people, communities and relationships. The VORP is an attempt to mend relationships that have been violated by crimes. It has been described as restorative justice versus punitive justice.
What Can VORP Mediations Do for Communities?
- Restore peace
- Decrease fear
- Restore community
- Increase perceptions of the Justice System as being victim friendly
- Be recognized as an impacted party to crime
Studies show that offenders who participate in the VORP mediation program are less likely to commit crimes in the future, thus benefiting entire communities.
What can VORP Mediations Do for Victims?
Although the VORP is voluntary for the victims, it is strongly recommended because if offers them the opportunity to speak directly to the individuals who have hurt them. The victims can
- Tell about the impact the crime has had on their lives
- Hear why the offenders did what they did
- Receive direct answers to their questions
- Actively participate in a restitution agreement
- Listen to apologies
Following mediation, victims commonly report a feeling of satisfaction, peace of mind and closure.
What Can VORP Mediations Do for Offenders?
Although offenders are generally court-ordered to VORP mediation, the process has definite advantages for the offenders because they can
- Take responsibility for their actions
- Understand the impact their actions had on the victims
- Apologize for their wrongdoing
- Determine how to right the wrong they have done
- Often be forgiven
- Deal with what they have done and move forward
Offenders who participate in mediation feel they have been treated fairly.
What Is the Process for VORP Mediations?
Prior to scheduling mediation, the Case Manager will talk with the parties involved.
At the mediation itself, the following procedure will occur:
- The mediators will make introductions, explain the process, discuss the ground rules, and address the objectives of the meeting.
- Each party will have uninterrupted time to make her/his statement.
- Victims will have an opportunity to ask and receive answers to their questions.
- Offenders will be given time to make their apologies.
- Restitution options will be discussed.
- A written restitution agreement will be drafted and signed by all parties.
Who Will Be at the Mediation?
The participants of any particular mediation can vary, but common to all are the victim(s), victims support person(s), the offender(s), the parent(s) of the offender(s), and the mediators.
How Long Will the Mediation Take?
Although times vary from one mediation to the next, two hours is generally sufficient.