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Victim-Centered Programs

Victim-Centered Programs

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The Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) provides programs that help victims give a voice to their experiences and aid in the healing process. Learn more about the:

Victim Impact Program and Guest Speaker Program

We provide several voluntary speaking opportunities to crime victims and survivors that can support the healing process.

View printable brochures of the Victim Impact Program and Guest Speaker Program.

Why Victims Participate

As a crime victim or survivor, speaking can empower you and give a voice to your experiences.

Offenders gain more from a guest speaker than they are able to through reading, discussing, or watching videos. Hearing from a crime victim or survivor who took the time to come to the class to speak reaches them in a way other methods simply cannot.

Victims and survivors offer a personal and real education. Many offenders have not considered the full impact of their actions.

Speaking Opportunities

If you are interested in participating in any of the speaking opportunities below, please contact our staff to apply.

Victim Impact Program

This program needs victim and survivor voices to help offenders understand the “ripple effect” of their crimes on victims, survivors, and the community. The goal is to make offenders more aware of the consequences of their crimes and encourage greater accountability for their actions.

The program focuses on the four major impact areas of crime: physical, emotional, financial, and religious/spiritual. Some speakers find it helpful to use this framework to discuss the many ways the crime has affected their lives.

If you want to speak but are not sure where to start, our team can help you. For more information about this program, please visit the Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center's website.

Watch the following video to learn more about the Victim Impact Program.

Staff Training and Events

There are also opportunities to share your story at staff trainings and events. Whether staff are preparing to facilitate Victim Impact or are attending other training, guest speakers can assist staff in understanding an important perspective of crime and criminal justice.

Guest Speaker Support

We take several measures to ensure guest speakers feel comfortable and safe when they volunteer to share their experiences:

  • We will take care not to bring you into a facility in which the offender in your case is located.
  • We will not reveal your personal information, nor the identity of the offender in your case.
  • You will be accompanied and have staff support at all times.
  • Entering a prison facility will involve security screenings in advance and at the facility. This process varies from one facility to another.

Victim-Offender Dialogue

Victim-Offender Dialogue (VOD) is a victim-centered, confidential meeting between a victim/survivor and the offender who committed the crime against them or their immediate family member.

View a printable brochure about this program.

Why Victims Participate

As a victim/survivor, a VOD enables you to voice the pain and trauma you have experienced in a safe setting, and obtain answers and information only the offender will know. Offenders are able to listen and understand the harm they caused, take full responsibility, and recognize the effects of their actions.

A VOD is not about forgiveness or reconciliation. While forgiveness may occur, that decision is left to you, the victim/survivor.

Offenders receive no special privileges for participating in a VOD. It does not impact their sentence, parole, or any other incarceration status.

How it Works

Learn more about the steps involved in a Victim-Offender Dialogue.

  • As a victim/survivor, you can initiate a VOD.

    If you request a VOD, the Victim Services Unit staff will prepare the case for the Department of Corrections to review. If your request is approved and the offender agrees, a trained facilitator is assigned to the VOD. Offenders cannot request a VOD.

  • The VOD process is voluntary.

    You or the offender may choose to stop the process at any time. Participating in the preparation process does not guarantee a dialogue will happen. Offenders rarely discontinue once they agree. At times, victims/survivors process their feelings during the preparation phase and decide they don’t need do the VOD.

  • A VOD requires extensive preparation.

    Over several months, a trained facilitator meets with you and the offender separately to prepare for the actual meeting. The facilitator’s role is to build trust with you and the offender. This enables both parties to feel safe and comfortable, leading to a successful dialogue.

  • A one-time VOD meeting is scheduled when the facilitator and participants are ready.

    It will take place at the facility where the offender is assigned.

  • The facilitator offers separate follow-up meetings

    to you and the offender several weeks after the dialogue.

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