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 why he targeted you?
- Do you want him to explain why he would choose to do this to someone?
- 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, and that you have regained your own strength?
What kinds of things could make the VOD go “wrong” for you?
- If he tries to minimize his responsibility for what he did, by blaming his choices on alcohol or drugs or age or family history, or other factors?
- If he tries to somehow subtly (or even overtly) blame you for what he did?
- If you get the sense that he is “sorry,” but only in words, not in a real feeling way?
- If you get a sense that he is actually enjoying being in close proximity to his victim/survivor, or seems to be re-living the sense of power and control he had?
What do you want him to take away from the VOD with you?
- Is it important to you that he gain an understanding of the devastation he caused, or how the trauma, triggers, & anniversaries he caused can continue to affect your life?
- Is it important to you that his patterns of attractions, choices, and behaviors be fundamentally “changed” by the VOD with you? This is completely improbable.
- Is it important to you that he understand exactly how you feel about his possible release from prison, or about the conditions of his supervision upon release?
Is it important that he understand you feel he still presents a risk to public safety?