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Offer and Acceptance of Apology in Victim-Offender Mediation

Dhami, MK and Dhami, MK (2012) Offer and Acceptance of Apology in Victim-Offender Mediation Critical Criminology, 20 (1). pp. 45-60.

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Past research on restorative justice (RJ) has highlighted the importance of apology for both victims and offenders and the prevalence of apology during the RJ process. The present study moves this work further by examining the nature of the apologies that are offered during victim-offender mediation, as well as the individual-, case-, and mediation-level factors that can affect the offer and acceptance of apology. In addition, we measure the implications that the offer and acceptance of apology can have on satisfaction with the mediation outcome. We conducted a content analysis of 57 records of mediations occurring between 2008 and 2010 at a UK mediation centre. Perpetrators said "I'm sorry" in over one-third of cases, and full apologies were offered in nearly one-fifth of cases. Apologies were accepted in over 90% of cases, although forgiveness was much less common. The offer of apology was most closely associated with the type of incident/offence, and number of previous mediations in a case. There was also some support for the relationship between the offer of apology and victim age, perpetrator gender, formal sanction, and the number of participants attending the mediation meeting. None of the factors studied were associated with the acceptance of apology. The offer of apology was associated with satisfaction with the mediation outcome, and in all of the cases where the apology was accepted, the victim was satisfied with the mediation outcome. The findings thus shed light on the role that apology can play in the effectiveness of RJ. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
Dhami, MK
Dhami, MK
Date : March 2012
DOI : 10.1007/s10612-011-9149-5
Related URLs :
Additional Information : This is an electronic version of an article published as Dhami MK (2012). Offer and Acceptance of Apology in Victim-Offender Mediation. Critical Criminology 20(1):45-60. The final publication is available at
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 31 Oct 2012 16:35
Last Modified : 31 Oct 2017 14:50

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