University of Twente Student Theses


Mediated contact between victims and offenders after crime : the role of agency and moral image

Bonensteffen, Florian (2016) Mediated contact between victims and offenders after crime : the role of agency and moral image.

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Abstract:Restorative approaches are seen as a more effective alternative to classical justice programs because more positive outcomes towards avoidance of recidivism of the offender and healing the wounds of the victim are expected. Shnabel and Nadler (2015) propose in their Needs based Model of Reconciliation that victims and offenders experience strong feelings of impaired agency and moral image after a crime and that they are motivated to restore these feelings. The current study examines how these changes in victims’ and offenders’ emotional states after a crime may influence their willingness to engage in victim offender mediation programs (VOM). Victims were expected to be primarily impaired in their feeling of agency and to show a high need to restore these weakened emotions; offenders were expected to have a high need to restore their moral – social image because of strong feelings of social exclusion and moral inferiority. Also, it was assumed that these identity dimensions were related to the willingness to participate in VOM. In a quasi-experiment, participants were randomly asked to incorporate the role of a victim or an offender in a fictitious crime scenario. In contrast to the results which were found in previous research of Shnabel and Nadler (2008, 2015), through this research it cannot be confirmed that agency and moral image vary significantly towards the willingness to participate in VOM. There is no direct relationship of the impairment of these needs and the willingness to participate in VOM. But, consistent with Shnabel and Nadler, this study confirmed that offenders show higher suffering from threat to their moral identity than victims and have a higher need to regain acceptance from society from which they feel excluded. The moral image can be related to the estimated helpfulness of VOM. For a more valid interpretation of the outcome, a more realistic measure is recommended to consider; in an online study, participants may underestimate the impact of emotions which are experienced after a crime.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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