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Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program (VORP)

The Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program (VORP) is a community-based program which offers the courts and community a different way of dealing with the aftermath of crime. VORP provides an opportunity for a victim and offender to meet face-to-face in order to find a mutually satisfying solution to the offence and its effects. Participants are given a chance to ask questions about the offence, to express their feelings and to negotiate an agreement for repayment of losses when these occur. Participation is voluntary and mediation meetings are arranged and facilitated by trained volunteer mediators.

BENEFITS OF MEDIATION:

Participants are responded to as persons and treated with fairness. Once they meet in a face-to-face meeting, the stereotyped images of “victim” and “offender” begin to fade.

VICTIMS, instead of being kept on the sidelines, are encouraged to take part in the process of justice. They have an opportunity to ask questions about the offence, they may receive fair compensation for their losses and they are involved in making things right again. This involvement tends to reduce the feeling of helplessness which often accompanies victimization.

OFFENDERS are encouraged to face up to the real effects of their actions upon the people involved. They are also encouraged to take responsibility for helping to make things right. They are given a chance to be understood and forgiven.

COMMUNITIES benefit because resolution and restitution are more productive and economical than some other sentencing alternatives. Through the victim’s and the volunteer’s involvement, the community is represented in the justice process and in helping to make offenders more productive members of their communities.

Comments of Participants

OFFENDERS

“The meeting was person-to-person, not ‘good guy – bad guy’ ”

“I realized that it was not only a car I had done wrong to, but also a person.”

VICTIMS

“The meeting was more humanitarian: victims and offenders are humans, not all bad or good.”

“It (the meeting) set my mind at rest because I had this image of who had broken in, and how it had all been planned in advance and how we had been watched. To discover that none of that was true was a great load off my mind and I felt much easier about things afterward. It was a good feeling that the powers that be had realized that something had happened to us and had taken into account our feelings and our whole experience. That felt very good.”