Victim-Offender Dialogue (VOD), also called Victim-Offender Mediation, provides an opportunity for a face-to-face meeting between the victim, offender, and a neutral third-party facilitator.
The goal of dialogue is to promote understanding and resolution by enhancing the ability of both parties to move forward in the aftermath of a crime. Some victims want to participate in a dialogue because they want to ask questions that only the offender can answer. Other victims want to convey the impact of the offender's actions on their life. Occasionally victims are interested in offering forgiveness, but this is not a required for dialogue.
In Wisconsin, the dialogue process can only be initiated at the request of a victim or survivor of crime. If an offender wishes to request a dialogue, he or she can write a letter of apology to the victim or survivor.
If a victim or survivor wishes to participate in a dialogue with an offender in custody or under community supervision of the Department of Corrections, they should call the Office of Victim Services and Programs (OVSP) to complete a dialogue request.
The request is referred to a third-party facilitator at the University of Wisconsin Law School's Restorative Justice Project. The Restorative Justice Project's staff and law students screen the request and contact the offender. If all parties agree to meet, students and staff will coordinate the dialogue. Due to the extensive preparation required, it can take up to one year from the initial request for a dialogue to occur.
Please note certain offenders are not appropriate for a dialogue, including offenders with uncompleted programming needs or if they have not taken accountability for their actions.
Participation in a dialogue is voluntary for both the victim or survivor and the offender and either party may withdraw from the process at any time.