Engaging in dialogue with the offender is a new opportunity for victims of violent crime that previously was not found in our traditional system of justice. This mediation or more appropriately referred to as victim offender dialogue,creates new opportunities for victims of violence to ask questions of the offender, to inform the offender of the impact that hte crime has had on them and creates an opportunity for an additional sense of justice that is important for many victims of violent crime.
Program Design and Implementation:
Achilles Consulting Services can provide support and assistance in the development and design of victim offender dialogue programs. Program design includes structure, policies procedures, confidentiality discussions, utilization of volunteers vs. staff, case selection, preparation, facilitation of actual mediation/dialogue, followup debriefings of all parties involved. We can provide training and guidance to program advisory committees on the key components of program structure that will ensure safety and security for both the victim of violence and the offender. We also provide training of staff and volunteers in skill building to conduct mediation/dialogues.
We can coordinate with your program to facilitate the actual dialogue utilizing Achilles Consulting Services staff who have been fully trained and possess extensive experience in the field of victim offender mediation/dialogues in crimes of violence. Mediation/dialogues in crimes of severe violence requires a unique set of skills including but not limited to understanding of trauma response, post traumatic stress disorder, the experience of both victims and offender, core values of restorative justice and high level crisis intervention skills. Achilles Consulting Services staff have this skill set.
Mary Achilles started the first system based mediation program for victims of violence crime utilizing community volunteers in the nation. Ms. Achilles along with several of her Pennsylvania colleagues has been on the road to understanding the need for creating this opportunity for vicitms since 1995. It was in 1995 that Ms Achilles, Jane Reise and the Laurie Reiley first attended a training for mediation in crimes of violence in Minnesota conducted by Mark Umbriet. After that experience Ms. Achilles and her colleagues spent a signigicant amount of time education themselves and their victim assistance colleagues in PEnnsulvania on the benefits of this service for victims of cirme.
This work culminatied in the establishment of the first Victim Offender Mediation Program for Victims of Violenct Crime of the Office of the Victim Advocate in Pennsylvania during Ms. Achilles tenure as the frist Victim Advocate. This program collaborated with many individuals including the Mennonite Central Committee US, Office on Crime and Justice, then headed by Howard Zehr and his assistance Lorraine Amstutz Stutzman. The program utilizied community based volunteers as co-faciliatators for each mediation/dialogue.
The program was the subject of an award winning documentary "Beyond Conviction" directed by Rachael Libert. The documentary featured three mediation/dialogues conducted in Pennsylvania prisons. For more information on Beyond Conviction contact Tied to the Tracks Films, Inc.at firstname.lastname@example.org