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Impact of Victim Offender Dialogue on Victims of Serious Crimes: A Longitudinal Cohort-Control Study

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2019
13 pages
This is the Draft Final Summary Overview of the methodology and findings of a study with the goal of determining the impact of Victim Offender Dialogue (VOD) on the health and well-being of victims of serious or violent crimes in Colorado, as well as victims' satisfaction with the justice system.

This study builds upon an existing body of research that has consistently suggested that VOD has the potential to promote victim healing and satisfaction with the justice system. The current study extends the previous research by using a cohort-control design and psychometric scales to measure victim health outcomes. This study compared the well-being of 18 victims who participated in VOD with their offenders to the well-being of 15 victims of similar crimes who chose not to participate in a VOD when it was offered by a Colorado correctional agency. For these two victim groups, validated psychometric scales were administered to measure trauma indicators, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, substance abuse, and physical and mental health. The study period extended from January 2017 through September 2019. During this period, only 8 of the 18 participants progressed to dialogues with their offenders. This was due to disrupted dialogues or lengthy preparation processes; however, no participants withdrew from the study. Despite study limitations due to the small number of participants, distinct trends were evident that add to the understanding of VOD and provide guidance for future research. Quantitative and qualitative data showed positive outcomes for victims who participated in VOD. Compared to the control group, VOD participants experienced less fear, an increased sense of safety, and an increased sense of social connection compared to non-participating victims. 1 figure, 1 table, and 14 references

Date Published: September 1, 2019