How Can Mediation Help Offenders?
Some offenders do feel genuinely sorry for their crimes and need to apologise to their victims as part of their wish to make amends. Mediation gives the offender the opportunity of explaining to their victims how and why they committed the crime.
If the offender and their victims live in the same area they may feel apprehensive of becoming a target for revenge or ostracism by the victim, members of the victim's family or the community at large. Mediation can address all of these issues and can also go some way in making our community a better place in which to live.
How Does the Mediation Process Begin?
Whenever a person is charged with an offence or comes to the notice of the Police and there is a clear admission of guilt on the part of the offender, the victim or the offender may seek mediation via the Police, Solicitor, Probation Service, Victim Support or by contacting the Service themselves.
When is Mediation Appropriate?
Mediation may be appropriate if the victim and the offender agree to take part in the process.Mediation may be appropriate if there is a clear admission of guilt on the offender's behalf.Mediation may be appropriate where there is an identifiable victim. Cases motivated either sexually or racially will be considered on their individual merits but will only be accepted if referred by the victim.
How Does Mediation Work? (Offender Led)
Following an admission of guilt the mediator will interview the offender in order to determine the level of remorse and the mediator will also discuss with the offender what is expected if they engage in the process.
If the mediator is satisfied and the offender agrees, an approach will then be made to the victim (Central Mediation Services makes every effort to be sensitive to the needs of the victim, and to this end, wherever possible Victim Support are involved in the casework).
If the victim declines to take part in the mediation process then the offender is informed that no further action is to be taken.
How Does Mediation Work? (Victim Led)
Following an approach to Central Mediation Services the mediator will assess the victims suitability, needs and motives for wishing to engage in the mediation process before any attempt is made to locate the offender (It is important that the victim's expectations of the mediation process are not unrealistic).
If the offender can be traced, the mediator will seek their views on entering into the mediation process.If the offender cannot be traced or declines mediation then the victim is informed and no further action is taken.
The Mediation Process:
If the victim and the offender agree to take part, further discussion will take place in order to discover whether a direct meeting (face to face) or indirect contact (i.e. written or verbal exchange of information) is the most suitable form of mediation.
If a face to face meeting is acceptable to both the victim and the offender and the circumstances permit, arrangements will be made for a meeting in a neutral place.If indirect mediation is more suitable then the mediator will act as a go-between, passing on, with the consent of each party, any information or indeed any letters.