Statement of the Problem: High-Risk Victim Offender Dialogue (HR-VOD) is a restorative justice practice which provides victims of serious, violent crimes the opportunity to resolve trauma and attain an increased sense of justice. The goal of this proposed research study is to determine the impact of HR-VOD on victims of serious or violent crimes whose offenders are currently under the supervision of a Colorado correctional facility or community supervision agency. This study is designed to inform practice and policy decisions about the use of HR-VOD in criminal justice settings to improve victim outcomes and ameliorate the effects of crime.
Subjects: Participants (N=80) are victims of serious, violent crimes in which the offender is now under the supervision of a Colorado correctional institution or on probation or parole in a Colorado judicial district. Eligible crimes include murder, manslaughter, homicide, assault, kidnapping, robbery, and child abuse.
Partnerships: This project draws upon existing partnerships between Colorado state agencies via the Colorado Restorative Justice Council. The Colorado Department of Corrections, the Division of Youth Corrections, the Chief Probation Officers Council, and the Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance will each assign a Site Liaison to oversee research functions and participate in a project Steering Committee.
Research Design and Methods: This study utilizes a longitudinal, mixed-methods cohort-control design, comparing
the wellbeing of victims who participate in a facilitated restorative justice dialogue with their offender to the wellbeing of those who did not participate at three points in time. This design addresses the limitations of prior research on HR-VOD by (1) incorporating validated measures of victim PTSD, depression, trauma, and wellbeing, (2) utilizing a control group, and (3) tracking the longitudinal outcomes of the program at three points in time.
Analysis: Quantitative analysis of validated psychometric scales are conducted using Propensity Score Matching (PSM) and Outcome Analysis (OA) based on paired t-tests, with attention to the size and robustness of treatment effects. Qualitative interviews with participants are transcribed and coded, and then organized into categories,
domains, and themes. Narrative analysis guides the discernment of substantive and conceptual meaning.
Products, Reports, and Data Archiving: This study produces archived datasets including wellness and procedural justice outcomes for a sample of crime victims at three points in time, as well as scholarly products and practice reports to assist in the development of HR-VOD programming in correctional settings and to guide decision-making about resource allocation for restorative justice practices. ca/ncf