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Family Group Conferencing: Implications for Crime Victims

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2000
19 pages
This report discusses the implications of family group conferencing (FGC) for crime victims, based on the use of family conferencing in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the United States.
During the past several years, FGC models used in New Zealand and Australia have received considerable attention in the United States and Canada. FGC involves persons most affected by crime--the victim, the offender, and family and friends of both the victim and the offender. In FGC, the facilitator contacts the victim and the offender to explain the process and invite them to the conference. The facilitator also asks the victim and the offender to identify key members of their support systems who will be invited to participate as well. The history of FGC is reviewed, and similarities and differences between FGC and victim-offender mediation are noted. Potential dangers of the FGC model are identified, such as inadequate preparation, victim insensitivity and coercion, feelings of young offenders about being intimidated by adults, lack of neutrality, and inflexibility and assumed cultural neutrality of the FGC process. Guidelines for restorative FGC are offered. 27 references and 1 table