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 to understand some of the initial and continuing physical and emotional impacts and effects of what he did, upon you and others close to you?
- Do you want him to explain (not excuse) why he did what he did?
- Do you want him to take full personal responsibility for what he did?
- Do you want something other or additional from the VOD with him?
What kinds of things could make the VOD go “wrong” for you?
- If he tries to minimize his responsibility, by blaming his choices to do what he did on alcohol or drugs or family history, or other factors?
- If he tries to subtly (or overtly) blame you or someone else for what he did?
- If he claims to have “blacked out” certain (important-to-you) aspects of what he did, such that he says he “can’t remember” all or part of what he did?
- If you get the sense that he is “sorry,” but only in words, and not in a real feeling way, or that he is again trying to “charm” (or subtly threaten) you under his influence and control?
What do you want him to take away from the VOD with you?
- If he is released, and perhaps even to your community or county, how do you want him to understand his “place” in the community? Will any no-contact order remain in place?
- Is it important to you that he come away with some understanding of the devastation he caused, and how anniversaries, holidays, and other “triggers” can still affect you?
- Do you want him to do his part to “carry” his share of the burden he left you and your family with, in the aftermath of his actions?
- Or do you want him to not be burdened by the impacts and effects of his actions?