The advisor to the Minister of Correctional Services, Professor Musa Xulu, delivered a talk on the Victim Offender Dialogue (VOD) to staff and students on the Pietermaritzburg campus.

The VOD programme is informed by the need to:

·        intensify outreach to victims and communities

·        profile and interact with victims of crime

·        give offenders a second chance

·        form broad partnerships around fighting crime and crime prevention.

The talk was titled: Building Communities through Effective Corrections: Towards Conceptualising Victim Offender Dialogues as Contributory Factors to Community Building.

This initiative was spearheaded by the Religion, Governance and Africa in the World Programme (RGAWP) in the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics at UKZN in partnership with the Department of Correctional Services (DCS).

The VOD programme is centred within the “Corrections is a societal responsibility” framework which aims to:

·       Strengthen the current rehabilitation and reintegration programmes of the DCS by placing the victim at the centre of the correctional process;

·       Ensure that the Victim-Offender Dialogues initiative is informed by a constitutional obligation that the offender is a citizen, a human being who has strayed from his or her path and must be assisted by the corrections system to rehabilitate and return to the path of good citizenship;

·       Steer society in the direction of good citizenship by keeping people from imprisonment through crime prevention. Good citizenship in this sense entails empowering the victim and assisting the offender to regain his/her self and get reintegrated into society.

Xulu said: ‘The implementation of the Victim Offender Dialogue (VOD) programme will need the participation of various professionals in the programme’s value chain. It is expected that among others, social workers, psychologists, educators and spiritual care will play various roles in this regard.’

The Religion, Governance and Africa in the World Programme will offer a forum through which facilitators can be trained in the art of the victim-offender dialogue. This will become a part-time opportunity for those who may have an interest in being trained as VOD facilitators.

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