Victim Offender Dialogue Program
“Healing doesn't mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls your life.......”
- Akshay Dub
What is a Victim Offender Dialogue?
A Victim Offender Dialogue (VOD) is a face-to-face meeting between a person who was harmed and the person responsible for the harm* incarcerated in any California Sate Prison. ITalking in a safe setting allows those harmed to give full voice to their experience and all that was endured in the aftermath of the crime. What needs to be said can be said. Questions can be ask and will at last be answered. People responsible for harm, no matter how severe, are given the opportunity to face the often wide-ranging and complex impact of their actions, take accountability and make amends to the extend possible. Both parties are encouraged and empowered to mend what was broken. Thus, the outcome of a dialogue is determined by the participants.
* A note about language:
Labels like victim and offender can trap people in the identity. Many people don’t identify with these labels, and people’s life experiences are more than the worst moment in their lives. At the same time Victim Offender Dialogue (VOD) is the standard name used for this nationally recognized process. Generally, we use the terms “person who committed a harm / responsible party” and “person who was harmed / harmed party,” or “survivor.”
A VOD is...
facilitated by specially trained Restorative Justice practitioners
centered on the person harmed
always initiated by the person harmed
a collaborative and non-adversarial process
focused primarily on accountability and healing
not about forgiveness or reconciliation
confidential unless agreed otherwise
voluntary for both parties