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Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd S.
Fort Myers, FL. 33965-6565

Phone: (239) 590-1006
Fax:     (239) 590-1066

Press Release


Victim Offender Mediation Association Elects FGCU's O'Brien to International Board of Directors

FORT MYERS, FL - The international Victim Offender Mediation Association elected Sandra O'Brien, director of the Institute for Youth and Justice Studies at Florida Gulf Coast University, to represent Region B as a director on the organization's board.

The Victim Offender Mediation Association works to promote and enhance restorative justice dialogue, principles and practices.

"It is truly an honor and privilege to be elected to the board, especially as VOMA's focus is restorative in nature," O'Brien said.

"Restorative justice has made a profound impact on my professional and personal life. In its challenge to society, the journey of restorative justice requires a deep commitment to systemic change that is grounded in a spirit of collaboration, renewal and hope. The VOMA is proactive in furthering this progression."

Restorative justice dialogue, which is also identified as victim-offender dialogue, conferencing or reconciliation, is a face-to-face meeting between a crime victim and the criminal offender in the presence of a trained mediator.

The offender and the victim may talk to each other about the crime, its effects on their lives, their feelings about it and a mutually agreeable plan to repair any damages that occurred consequently from the crime.

Research shows crime victims who participate in restorative justice dialogue receive more restitution and feel safer than those who do not. Offenders have the opportunity to take responsibility for their crimes and make restitution.

The process gives crime victims the opportunity to meet emotional and material needs by receiving answers to their questions about the crime and the person behind it.

According to , the Victim Offender Mediation Association developed in the early 1980s as the U.S. Association for Victim-Offender Mediation. The organization has 350 individual members and 30 agency members in 40 states and seven countries.

Modern restorative justice dialogue is based on age-old values of justice, accountability and restoration. The first modern program was introduced in Canada in 1976 and in the United States in 1978. By 1990, approximately 150 programs existed and by 2000, there were more than 1,200 programs around the world.

For more information, contact O'Brien at (239) 590-7835 or .

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