In cases involving petty crimes or less serious crimes, such as threats, petty damage and non-aggravated assault, among others, the law allows the situation to be resolved through mediation between the victim and the defendant, as long as the defendant has acknowledged the commission of the crime.
Accordingly, during the inquiry stage, the Public Prosecution Service may, on its own initiative or at the request of the victim or the defendant, refer the case to mediation, informing the victim and the defendant of the fact and that they will be contacted by a mediator.
Mediators have specialised training for the purpose and their role is to promote and facilitate communication between the participants in the mediation process.
The mediation process is free of charge, confidential and voluntary, that is, victims need only participate if they agree to it and may withdraw at any time.
The mediator, in the first contact with the victim, should explain what mediation is, what results and consequences it may have, what rights and duties the participants have and what the role of the mediator is. This information is very important for the victim to be fully aware and able to decide if they want to participate or not.
The mediation process provides a place of communication between the victim and the offender with the help of an impartial mediator, where the victim may let the offender know about the harm caused by the crime and the offender can assume responsibility for the crime. The victim and the offender can also try to reach a settlement together, which may include the payment of compensation, the provision of a service by the offender either for the benefit of the victim or of the community in general, or even an apology. In the case of a settlement, the mediator will inform the Public Prosecution Service and the case will be closed; otherwise the case will go ahead.
For more information on the Criminal Mediation System, please click here.
For more information on criminal mediation and restorative justice, please click here.APAV can help you exercise this right.