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Florida Commission on Offender Review offers Victim-Offender Dialogue Training

Tena Pate
Posted at 6:02 PM, Jun 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-10 15:01:09-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fl. (WTXL) -- The Florida Commission on Offender Review is preparing for the state's first agency led victim offender dialogue program. The program is a voluntary and victim centered process designed to provide survivors of violent crime the opportunity to participate in a face-to-face meeting with their offender.

Today's training included Kate Grosmaire, the mother of Ann Grosmaire who was murdered by her boyfriend Connor McBride in 2010 and the aftermath with her daughter's death. and included victim service professionals and representatives from various state agencies responsible for providing assistance to victims of crime. The program has been successfully used in several states across the country and is an opportunity for for the commission to further assist victims and survivors.

The meetings give victims the opportunity to express their pain and get answers to questions only the offender can provide, all aimed at helping the healing process. "For the offenders, it gives them an opportunity to see the impacts they've had on the victim and the victim's life", said Tena M. Pate, a Commissioner with the Commission of Offender Review. "It gives them a better understanding of their behaviors. It is closure, to an extent. But alot of people say you can never have closure in these cases. What we're really trying to get is the victim to have answers to their questions."

The process is victim-centered, meaning that the victim drives it and if they don't want to speak to their offender, they do not have to. The Victim-Offender Dialogue training started Monday and will continue through Friday. Tomorrow, the group will travel to the Wakulla Correctional Institute to meet with offenders and talk to them.