Victims' Needs in Death Penalty Cases
What application does restorative justice have in the highly-charged, adversarial context of death penalty cases? Is it possible to do more to engage the families of homicide victims in these cases and in doing so, to help address their needs? What can and should the defense team do in these situations?
In a capital case, victims may receive assistance from victim assistance programs, often associated with the prosecution. However, what they frequently also need is information from the defense as well. In the past two decades a field has emerged that is sometimes called Defense Initiated Victim Outreach (DVO) or Defense Victim Outreach (DVO). DIVO/DVO provides trained victim liaisons to serve as a bridge between victims and the defense team to answer questions, provide information, and generally assist victims to address their needs as they define them.
DIVO/DVO is not usually full restorative justice, but it is informed by restorative justice principles. Although it has been very helpful to many victims, it is challenging, risky and controversial work. In this webinar, three pioneers and leaders in the field will describe the work and some of the possibilities and challenges.