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    Victim's Services

    Victim Assistance Unit (VAU)

     

    The Victim Assistance Unit (VAU) was established for the purpose of implementing statutory rights accorded to victims of juvenile crime. These rights include: receiving notice at the earliest possible point regarding safety concerns, compensation for loss, impact of the crime, juvenile justice proceedings, community resources and support services. A VAU officer is required to notify each victim by phone and/or in writing within 24 hours of referral of the offense by law enforcement. VAU officers represent concerns of the victims on their behalf, and they also assist in the establishment and recovery of restitution, resource referral advocacy activities, information dissemination as well as provide assistance and support. VAU officers may attend court hearings to express concerns of the victims on their behalf, and provide information the victim may have that is relevant to the judicial decision-making process.

    Victim-Offender Mediation

     

    Victim-Offender Mediation is an opportunity for offenders and their victims to have a face-to-face encounter led by a trained mediator. Mediation provides an opportunity for a victim and a juvenile offender to resolve conflicts, negotiate reconciliation and attain offender accountability. Participation for both the victim(s) and the offender(s) must be voluntary. The mediator sets rules to ensure that the process is safe and fair to all involved.

    Mediation has been especially successful when used to resolve cases involving an episode of family violence. By contract with a local service provider, some families who participate in mediation for an event involving family conflict or violence may also obtain follow up counseling through Breaking the Cycle of Violence Services offered through Tarrant County Juvenile Services.