State of Nebraska
BOARD OF PAROLE
The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) offers a program called Victim Offender Dialogue (VOD). It is provided through the Department’s Victim Services program. It is a victim-initiated program that allows the victim of a crime the opportunity to meet with the offender in their case to discuss the impact of the crime in a controlled environment, with trained facilitators to engage in a purposeful and meaningful conversation. Although victim-initiated, it also requires the offender to admit to the crime and be willing to speak with the victim. The program is victim-centered but can have positive effects on the offender as well. The program gives both the victim and the offender an opportunity to discuss the crime from each of their points of view. It lets the victim share with the offender how the crime has affected the victim and their family. It gives both the victim and the offender an opportunity to ask and answer questions about the crime often assisting in the healing process for both the victim and the offender. It is an emotional process for the victim, offender, and the trained facilitators. Trained facilitators are there for the entire process to help provide structure and assistance as needed. All facilitators undergo a lengthy training process and maintain their training and skills through annual training.
A victim who participated in VOD reached out to NDCS and Parole Administration in regard to her personal participation in the program to say that after going through VOD she felt that a huge burden was lifted from her. She continued stating that she is happy again and attributes that to the Victim Offender Dialogue program and the facilitators who worked with her on her VOD case. Specialized Parole Officer Andrea Wever was one of the VOD facilitators with Parole Administration and is a trained Victims Representative. She has been a Victim Services Representative for 10 years and a VOD facilitator for approximately 8 years. In talking about the program, Ms. Weaver reports that seeing the strength in the victim and seeing the changes in both the offender and victim is hugely impactful for all involved. She continued stating that being able to be a part of a program such as VOD that provides the opportunity to help victims and offenders in a meaningful way is amazing!