Juvenile Victim Offender Mediation Program (VOM)
In an effort to divert juvenile offenders away from future criminal activity, the Victim/Offender Mediation (VOM) Program was created by Family Court, in cooperation with the NJC. The VOM mediations are held at the NJC and facilitate discussions by working with offenders to recognize the harm that resulted from their actions, while encouraging them to understand, accept, and carry out their obligation to make things right. Mediators work to empower victims to voice their fears and concerns. Parents or guardians are required to attend; however, their role is to provide silent support while the juvenile works through the process. The program provides a voice for those who have been bullied or harassed.
During the VOM process, the offender is expected to prepare for the mediation by discussing the event(s) surrounding the conflict and developing a plan to address what happened. The plan must subsequently be agreed to by the victim. If parties are able to resolve the dispute and agree upon the plan, the charges against the offender may be dismissed. The participation in this program has been extremely successful and has resulted in the diversion of thousands of juveniles away from the juvenile justice system.
The Petit Larceny program is a post-adjudicatory program. Program participants are identified in collaboration with the Clark County District Attorney, Clark County Public Defenders, and the Las Vegas Justice Court. The goal of the program is to work with defendants to address the underlying social, economic, educational, mental and/or medical health issues contributing to their theft offenses and help direct them to wrap-around services to address their needs. One of the objectives of the program is to reduce recidivism rates for these defendants by using a holistic approach to crime prevention and rehabilitation.
In January of 2015, the first defendants were admitted to the program. Once identified, they were referred to the NJC where they were given self-guided needs assessment, informed of their programmatic responsibilities, required to meet with a victim impact panel, and scheduled for participation in a restorative justice mediation process.
The number of repeat thefts and/or other new charges for the NJC’s RAD and Petit Larceny programs are extremely low. From January 1, 2015 through March 31, 2016 there have been 342 Diversion Program cases. There have only been 19 repeat charges for petit larceny (5.55%) and 26 new charges for other offenses (7.60%).
Small Claims Mediations
The NJC’s Small Claims Mediation Program can reduce the amount of time litigants spend in the justice system and reduce the number of cases requiring judicial decisions. Many litigants also appreciate that the process allows them to speak directly to each other. This is important because many times there is an underlying conflict, beyond that which is stated in the complaint, which needs to be addressed in order to get a true resolution. When such conflicts are expressed, there is a better foundation for parties to fully comply with the agreed upon resolution. This is especially important since the court can only award money and not give parties the opportunity to discuss their need for empowerment and recognition of that underlying issue.
In Boulder City, Henderson and North Las Vegas Justice Courts, litigants are required to mediate their claims before a court hearing is scheduled. Commencing in January 2017, the Las Vegas Justice Court (LVJC) will move to voluntary mediations in Small Claims cases. The NJC provides on-site mediation services for each of the Justice Courts.
If a resolution is achieved, the agreement is memorialized by the mediator and sent to the court. The agreement will include the language needed for the case to be dismissed. If an agreement is not reached, the parties will return to the courtroom and the case will be heard by the judge.
Temporary Protection Order Mediation (TPO)
Some TPO cases are appropriate for mediation and are referred to the NJC by Las Vegas Justice Court (LVJC) judges. These cases generally involve threats of violence, coupled with an on-going conflict, rather than actual physical harm. All TPO cases are assessed by the LVJC to determine if there is a risk of actual violence prior to referral. If such a credible risk is present, the LVJC may make a determination that the case is inappropriate for mediation.
In these cases, the role of the mediators is to help disputants voice and address the culture of fear and potential of violence and how they believe the issues can be resolved in a safe controlled environment. In order to provide the appropriate environment, at the time the mediation is scheduled, a case manager will discuss whether the parties feel there is a need to establish a safety plan. If such a plan is requested, the NJC will make reasonable accommodations to implement it.
Following mediation, the case may be dismissed, if the parties agree on a resolution. A copy of the agreement is then sent to the presiding judge.
Other Court Issues
Please contact the NJC about any other disputes you may experience. Our friendly staff will discuss with you the benefits of mediation to assist you in deciding if mediation is appropriate in your situation. Remember: the mediator does not decide who is right or wrong or issue a decision. The NJC does not mediate child custody, visitation, and/or parenting issues. These are mediated through the Family Mediation Services Division of Family Court. For all other disputes use the following procedure:
Call (702) 455-3898 or e-mail to Mediation.firstname.lastname@example.org
- A case manager will contact you.
- If both parties agree, a mediation session will be scheduled.