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Using Virtual Reality to prepare for victim-offender mediation


Using Virtual Reality to prepare for victim-offender mediation

Voluntary encounters between victims and offenders after crime, under supervision of professional mediators is a growing practice in the Netherlands and abroad (victim-offender mediation; VOM). The literature indicates that participation in VOM can have beneficial consequences for both victims (reduced feelings of anger and fear) and offenders (increased awareness of consequences of crime, reduced reoffending).  

However, although it is increasingly positioned and implemented as a basic, self-reliant social service, the offer and uptake of VOM among victims and offenders is limited. In this project it is argued that this might in large part be due to the communication strategies used to date in this domain, which rely heavily on providing standardized, static information as a first step, which is followed up by personalized, face-to-face contact with mediation professionals if parties show an interest in VOM. From the perspective of psychological theories on motivating victims and offenders to opt for VOM as a risky and stressful service, such strategies are unfit to increase individuals self-efficacy.

Current digital and technological means create the opportunity to reach (a) a far larger part of the target groups and (b) create more interactive, emotional and personalized ways of informing victims and offenders.  Therefore, in the current bachelor project the aim is to unravel when (imagined) victims and/or offenders might be willing to use such technological means to get acquintainted with and prepare for VOM. In particular, you will examine which and when potential users of VOM are likely to use a virtual reality application that demonstrates the procedure and content of VOM to them.


Shen, C., Ho, J., Ly, P.T.M. et al. (2018). Behavioural intentions of using virtual reality in learning: perspectives of acceptance of information technology and learning style. Virtual Reality, 1-12.

Pan, X. & Hamilton, A. F. de C. (2018). Why and how to use virtual reality to study human social interaction: The challenges of exploring a new research landschape. British Journal of Psychology, 109, 395-417.

Zebel, S., Schreurs, W., & Ufkes, E. G. (2017). Crime seriousness and participation in restorative justice: The role of time elapsed since the offense. Law and Human Behavior, 41, 385-397. DOI: 10.1037/lhb0000242


Please contact Jan Gutteling ( when you are interested in this assignment.


From February 2019 onwards