Project Information

Kurt Lewin Instituut
Heidelberglaan 1
Room Number H1.42
The Netherlands
T: +31 (0)30 - 253 3027

Project Information

Project Title
"Design and implementation of ICT-based communication systems in victim-offender mediation"

University of Twente - Department of PCRS

PhD Student
Lisanne van den Berg

Dr. Sven Zebel (University of Twente)
Dr. Stoelinga (University of Twente) Haverkort (University of Twente)
Prof.dr. Ellen Giebels (University of Twente)

1 June 2016 - 31 May 2019

University of Twente


This project's ambition is to realize ground-breaking advances in the effectiveness and applicability of victim-offender mediation (VOM), through the design and implementation of ICT-based communication systems. In contrast to the traditional handling of criminal cases in court without mediation, VOM offers both parties better means to deal with the offense at hand and to agree on suitable reparation arrangements [1]. However, parties often decline the opportunity to meet face-to-face because they belief a direct confrontation will be too stressful. For this reason most VOM programs also make use of indirect forms of contact, in which the mediator communicates messages between parties. Studies show, however, that these indirect forms of mediation are far less effective than face-to-face meetings [2,3]. Recent technological developments have created the possibility for the use of digital communication systems in mediation. The use of such systems for communication between victims, offenders and mediators may offer the best of both worlds: the possibility of direct, live communication without the high levels of stress associated with physical proximity between victims and offenders. In the project we will explore to what extent ICT-based communication systems will be effective in facilitating reparation settlements, emotional recovery and reduced crime risks among victims and offenders. In order to answer this question, we will design, optimize and implement multi-party, ICT-based, text interaction and videoconferencing communication systems which fit the requirements for VOM (e.g. system stability, privacy, user rights).


[1] Daly, K. (2004). A tale of two studies: Restorative justice from a victim’s perspective. In E. Elliot & R. Gordon (Eds.), Restorative justice: Emerging issues in practice and evaluation. Cullompton, UK: Willan.

[2] Umbreit, M. S., Coates, R. B., & Vos, B. (2004). Victim-offender mediation: Three decades of practice and research. Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 22, 279-303.

[3] Zebel, S. (2012). Een quasi-experimentele studie naar de effecten van de Nederlandse slachtoffer-dadergesprekken [A quasi-experimental study into the effects of the Dutch victim-offender meetings]. In I. Weijers (Ed.), Bemiddeling na strafbare feiten: De Nederlandse slachtoffer-dadergesprekken [Mediation after punishable offences: The Dutch victim-offender meetings (pp. 21-44). The Hague, The Netherlands: Boom Juridische uitgevers.

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