Victim-Offender Mediation – A South African Experience

Published 13/12/2006
Type Article
Author(s) Anette Venter, Pedro Rankin
Corresponding Authors Anette Venter, Department of Social Services, North West Province, South Africa,

This paper is a summary of a Master’s degree research project on Victim Offender Mediation practice in South Africa. The purpose of the study was to determine the needs of both victims and offenders regarding Victim Offender Mediation and also to identify the skills needed by probation officers to do Victim Offender Mediation. The data was gathered by making use of three focus groups consisting of victims, offenders and social workers working as probation officers. Interviews were conducted according to an interview framework.

The findings showed a remarkable tolerance by the victims of the deeds of the offenders and a compassion for them. The offenders in turn expressed a need to apologise to the offenders for what they had done. Probation officers felt that specialised training is necessary to conduct a successful Victim Offender Mediation session and that generic training in social work is not sufficient.