Victim Centered Programming
The Office of Victim Services (OVS) has oversight of several victim-centered, offender-rehabilitative programming to assist with successful offender reentry efforts upon release. OVS believes if incarcerated individuals and supervisees do not address the harm they have caused, chances for successful reentry could be diminished.
Victim-Offender Dialogue (VOD) is a process in which the victim of a violent crime and the offender who committed the offense(s) meet. The focus is on the harm done to the victim and the offender’s responsibility in the reparations of the harm caused. VOD is a form of restorative justice. The VOD program that OVS administers adheres to the 20 Essential Principles of corrections-based Victim Services. This program is also in compliance with American Correctional Association standard number 5-5F-4447-2 for corrections-based Victim Offender Dialogue Programs.
Ohio is 1 of 34 states that offer a corrections-based VOD program. All dialogues are victim-centered and victim-initiated; offenders cannot initiate a dialogue. Offenders must agree to participate; they cannot be forced into the process. Ohio is unique in that all facilitators go through an application and panel interview process before being accepted to attend a 40-hour rigorous training to become a VOD facilitator. There are currently 43 trained, active VOD facilitators. In adherence with the 20 essential principles of VOD, the Victim-Offender Dialogue process cannot be used by offenders to obtain an early release from prison or supervision.
The success of Ohio’s Victim-Offender Dialogue program can be measured in different ways and has been enhanced since 2016 to include the following for maximum integrity and program success:
- Trauma-informed and trauma-responsive care and the ACE study have been built into the new facilitators 40-hour training.
- New facilitators are partnered with veteran facilitators for the first few case assignments.
- VOD facilitators adhere to an Ohio-specific Victim Offender Dialogue Code of Ethics that is signed after the successful completion of the VOD 40-hour training.
- Quarterly confidential VOD facilitator meetings are held with a built-in training, case debriefing and analysis component.
The Victim-Offender Dialogue program is a highly sensitive and time-consuming process that is confidential in nature. The Victim-Offender Dialogue program is not recommended for everyone. For those who decide to participate in this program, it can be a vital step toward healing for both the requesting victim and the offender.
For more information, download the Victim-Offender Dialog Brochure in English or Spanish
Victim Awareness Program
The Victim Awareness Program provides an opportunity for offenders to begin to see crime from a different perspective, from the perspective of the victim. An offender begins to see how the crime that they committed has affected crime victims, it allows the offender to take responsibility for the crime committed.
Some victims/survivors of crime volunteer to tell their powerful, emotional journey in order to engage offenders in learning the effects of crime on the lives of others. The Office of Victim Services is searching for victims/survivors to be victim impact speakers for the Victim Awareness Program. Please contact the Office of Victim Services if you are interested in participating as a victim impact speaker.
For more information, download the Victim Awareness Program Brochure in English or Spanish
P.R.O.V.E Batterer’s Intervention Program
P.R.O.V.E. (Personal Responsibility of Violence Elimination) is a batterer’s intervention program focusing on offender accountability in the elimination of intimate partner violence. Offenders participate in this 18-week program that is victim sensitive, challenges the offender’s belief system, offers alternatives to behaviors of abuse, and makes abusers accountable and responsible for their actions.
Sometimes offenders who are incarcerated write a letter of apology or letter of accountability. The Office of Victim Services discourages offenders from sending their letter to the victim(s) directly or through a third party. If a victim is interested in receiving an apology letter from the offender in their case, they can complete a notification form or contact the Office of Victim Services directly to inquire if an apology letter has been submitted.
For more information, download the Apology Letter Brochure in English or Spanish
Ohio Council on Victims Justice
The Ohio Council on Victims Justice plays an active role in the Department's efforts to improve victim services. The council provides input and makes suggestions for operational changes that impact victims; serving as liaisons between the Department and the constituents of Council members. The council also assists in the development of victim services and victim-sensitive Departmental practices by critiquing, reviewing, and advising on relevant policies, agency goals and objectives, and the implementation of needed services.
The council is comprised of leaders in professional associations abreast on and active in areas of victim issues, serving as an educated source of information for the public on correctional victim issues. Members of this council represent victims, victim service coalitions, law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, and other stakeholders.