Offender-victim mediation is an opportunity for victims and the persons responsible for a criminal offence to resolve conflicts that have arisen owing to an offence out of court. It is voluntary, fair and neutral, confidential, free of charge and non-bureaucratic.
In principle, it can be used for every kind of criminal offence and is possible at any stage of criminal proceedings. Offender-victim mediation is prepared, carried out and supervised by qualified and neutral mediators.
The goal of offender-victim mediation is the restoration of social peace. In a voluntary mediation discussion between a victim and an offender, the aim is to get the parties involved to resolve the personal conflict that has arisen between them together.
Victims can rid themselves of their anger by acting on their own terms and voicing their thoughts. They can overcome their fears and reduce friction by giving the offender the opportunity to illustrate the background situation and to try and understand the needs of the person opposite them.
It is also possible in offender-victim mediations to arrange for material and immaterial reparations to be made to the victim by the offender, for example, in the form of an apology and/or damages, compensation etc. In this way, offender-victim mediations often help to avoid time-consuming and possibly expensive civil proceedings or they can serve as an alternative to an adhesion procedure.
The following organisations work with adults in North Rhine-Westphalia:
- The ambulatory social service
- The institutional penitentiary social service
- Independently operated and specialised agencies which function as offender-victim mediation services
Providers in the youth welfare sector such as youth welfare offices and independently operated youth support groups carry out offender-victim mediation for young persons.
Find help fast
A wide variety of information about offender-victim mediation can be viewed on the Ministry of Justice’s website. Guidance is also available from the Service Office for Offender-Victim Mediation and Conflict Resolution of the DBH e.V.