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Effect of time and relationships on victim–offender dialogue completion in felony cases

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Victim–offender dialogues (VODs) often take place in organizational contexts, the stakeholders of which may very well be interested in measures of program effectiveness such as completion rates. When reported, completion rates typically ranged from 40 to 60%. At the time of this study, Ohio’s VOD program was completing just 25% of initiated cases and program stakeholders were unsure as to the cause(s). An archived data analysis was performed on a sample (n = 212) of the Office of Victim Services (OVS) completed and will-not-proceed files. One hypothesis and two research questions make use of archived data to explore this felony VOD context. The amount of time between the date the crime occurred and the date on which the dialogue file was initiated was not a significant predictor of dialogue completion. However, both victim-offender’s pre-crime relationship and dialogue file initiator were found to significantly impact dialogue completion rates. These results are considered in light of social exchange and uncertainty reduction theories.

Keywords: conflict; relational communication; restorative justice; social exchange; uncertainty reduction; victim–offender dialogue

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10282580.2012.734566

Affiliations: Communication Department,Aquinas College, Grand Rapids,MI, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2012

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