Marilyn Armour, Ph.D
Victim Offender Mediated/ Dialogue (VOMD) is a restorative justice program offered by Victim Services of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The program brings together victims and offenders to assist victim healing and offender accountability. The purpose of this research is to investigate psychological and behavioral changes in participants who engage in a face-to-face mediated dialogue in violent offenses.
The aims of the study are as follows:
- To examine changes in attitudes, psychological symptoms, level of spirituality, and health in victims who participate in Victim Offender Mediated/Dialogue.
- To examine changes in attitudes, level of spirituality, and behavior in and out of prison for offenders who participate in Victim Offender Mediated/Dialogue.
This study is a pre-post within subjects design with repeated measures. Instruments will be administered at 4 time points: base line, preparation, outcome, and follow up. Variables include rumination, vengefulness, religiosity, empathy, forgiveness, gratitude, psychological symptoms, health concerns, and negative prison behavior. Analysis will include a) descriptive statistics about the sample (demographics, nature of the crime, relationship between victim and offender, length of time since the offense), b) Anova with repeated measures for main effects, and c) examination of correlations between the different measures.
Evaluations of restorative justice initiatives have focused on satisfaction surveys in property crimes and misdemeanors. This study is unique for its focus on change in participants who engage in a mediated dialogue and the opportunity to research an unlikely population of victims and offenders. Potential findings about the conditions necessary for healing may have broad application to less severe crimes, social conflicts, and personal disputes.
Center for Social Work Research, The University of Texas at Austin
Keywords: domestic violence, sexual violence, community violence, sexual abuse