These questions are for your consideration and reflection, as they may raise issues you haven’t considered in this context, and help you begin to think about preparing for a VOD. It’s not unusual for the answers to change during the preparation process – and even during the VOD itself.
What are your main objectives, at this point, for a Victim Offender Dialogue (VOD) with the Offender?
- Do you want him/her to understand some of the initial and continuing physical and emotional impacts and effects of what s/he did, upon you – and others close to you?
- Do you want him/her to explain why s/he targeted you for his/her grooming & exploitation?
- Do you want him/her to explain why s/he chose to do this to his/her other victims?
- Do you want something other from the VOD, i.e., to know that you can simply endure and “survive” being in the same room with him/her, or to show him/her your strength, after all?
What kinds of things could make the VOD go “wrong” for you?
- If s/he tries to minimize his/her responsibility for what s/he did, by blaming his/her choices on alcohol or drugs or age or family history, or other factors?
- If s/he tries to somehow subtly (or even overtly) blame you for what s/he did?
- If you get the sense that s/he is “sorry,” but only in words, not in a real feeling way?
- If you get a sense that s/he is somehow enjoying being in close proximity to someone s/he has victimized, or seems to be re-living the sense of power and control s/he had?
What do you want him/her to take away from the VOD with you?
- Is it important to you that s/he gain an understanding of the devastation s/he caused, or how the trauma, triggers, and confusion s/he planted can continue to affect your life?
- Is it important to you that his/her patterns of attractions, choices, and behaviors be fundamentally “changed” by the VOD with you? This is completely improbable.
- Is it important to you that s/he understand exactly how you feel about his/her possible release from prison, or about the conditions of his/her supervision upon release?
- Is it important that s/he understand you feel s/he may still present a risk to public safety?