Aune Flinck, Victim-offender mediation and victim policies in finland
Victim-offender mediation and victim policies in Finland The Status and Needs of the Victim of Crime in Mediation - Nordic Seminar 9.-10.2.2012 Aune Flinck
A piece of history• Mediation experiments took place in Finland in the early 1980s.• The first mediation project started in the City of Vantaa in 1983.• Through the mid 1990s mediation programs expanded so that in 1996 mediation was carried out in 175 cities or municipalities.• The Act on Mediation in Criminal and Certain Civil Cases enterd into force not before 1.1.2006. 10.9.2012 Country report- Finland: Aune Flinck 2
Act on Mediation in Criminal and Certain Civil Cases (2006)• The aims of the law: – to safequard governmental funding – to make procedures followed in mediation more uniform – to give proper attention to the legal protection of the parties – to ensure the procedural rights and safeguards of the parties attending the mediation process – to create conditions for long-term evaluation and development• Mediation procedure in criminal cases can be either parallel or complementary to court proceedings.• Mediation may also be used in civil cases in which at least one of the parties is a natural person.• Mediation services are implemented independently of the criminal justice system – but mediation may have influence on the criminal proceedings, too.
Administration of Mediation Services The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health National Institute for Health and • The Advisory Board WelfareRegional State Administrative Agencies (6) and State Department of Åland Service providers 10.9.2012 Country report- Finland: Aune Flinck 4
Supervision, management and monitoring• Supervision, management and monitoring of mediation services is under the responsibility of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.• For the purposes of national supervision, monitoring and development of mediation services The Government appoints The Advisory Board on mediation in criminal cases for a period of three year at a time – the composition and duties of the Advisory Board are regulated by Government Decree (12.04 2006/267)• Regional State Administrative Agencies are obliged to arrange mediation services and ensure that they are available in appropriately implemented form in all parts of its administrative district• The Regional State Administrative Agencies are also obliged to ensure that further training is provided for mediation staff.• The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) is responsible for monitoring, research and coordinating development work. THL is also the statistical authority.• . 10.9.2012 Country report- Finland: Aune Flinck 5
Funding• The costs arising from mediation are reimbursed from central government funds.• In 2012 the sum is EUR 6.3 million and has remained the same since 2006 –• The sum is meant for operating expenses and the procedure for carrying out mediation and is divided to service providers by the Regional State Administrative Agencies.• The sum seems to be undervalued to safequard adequate resources as e.g. the number of refererred cases has increased in many districts and general expences have mounted.• Voluntary mediators complete an appropriate training and work under the supervision and monitoring of the mediation office - mediators are unsalarized, but costs are paid. 10.9.2012 Country report- Finland: Aune Flinck 6
Service provision• There are 22 mediation service providers at the moment – municipalities, associations or organizations, Regional State Administrative Agencies have contracted the mandates with the service providers and monitor them.• In 2010 the number of professional staff was 89 persons and 1211 active voluntary mediators.• Mediation covers the entire country. 10.9.2012 Country report- Finland: Aune Flinck 7
Program of the Finnish Government (2011- 2015)• The use of mediation in conflict resolution in different civil and criminal cases will be promoted to speed up the judicial proceedings.• Due to its short length and lower costs, mediation is especially well suited to custody disputes.• However, in cases involving domestic violence, the use of mediation must be limited, as the mediation processes in such offences include elements that may endanger the legal protection of the victim.• In the program there are also statements of developing the support services for victims.
Statistics The number of cases refferred for mediation has increased year by year • In 2008: 10 015 criminal and civil cases • In 2009: 11 249 “ • In 2010: 12 313 “10.9.2012 Country report- Finland: Aune Flinck 9
Statistics• A vast majority (81%) of criminal cases referred to mediation are submitted by the police.• Public prosecutors submitted about 15 per cent of the criminal cases to be mediated.• According to the Act on Mediation if the suspect or victim of a crime is underage, his/her guardian or other legal representative has the right to propose mediation, but only 0.1 per cent (15 cases) of cases are proposed by parents. 10.9.2012 Country report- Finland: Aune Flinck 10
Victim support policy • There are no national guidelines or policies that ensure the good treatment of the victims. • International agreements and recommendations and directives of the European Parliament, Council and Commision are taken into consideration. • The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health: National Development Programme for Social Welfare and Health Care (Kaste) 2012- 2015 including e.g. action plan to develop violence prevention. • In co-operation with different ministries and National Institute for Health and Welfare different working groups have been established: reports and publications which include recommendations and instructions for improving victim services and for preventing family violence, sexual abuse etc. • E.g. Action Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women (2010): covers comprehensive measures to prevent violence, to protect the victims and provide support for them, as well as to bring the perpetrators to justice for their acts. • Program of Inner Safety – a comprehensive program including aspects of victim support • ,.10.9.2012 Country report- Finland: Aune Flinck 11
Victim support policy • National Council for Crime Prevention - a crime prevention expert and cooperation agency, established in the Ministry of Justice: – the goal is to decrease the harm caused by crime and to increase security - incorporates representatives of the central ministries, municipal government, criminological research, commercial and industrial. • The Ministry of Justice: – the focus of criminal policy to develope the status of victims of crime – proposal for victim policy action plan. • The research by The National Research Institute of Legal Policy (2011): – Victims in the criminal process – vulnerability, services and treatment. • National Institute for Health and Welfare: – carrying out research e.g. of family violence, mediation etc.10.9.2012 Country report- Finland: Aune Flinck 12
Victim support policy• In Finland, services for victims have been developed from 1990s onwards.• Services are provided mainly by organizations and funded by the Finnish Slot Machine Association and partly by state – funding is often terminable.• There are a number of services which are targeted to special victim groups or certain minorities (e.g. sexual, ethnic raped women etc.). – Victim Support Finland is the only organization providing services to all kind of victims – none of the services are sufficiently and nationwide available – service providers may have contradictory visions of helping and supporting methods• Police, prosecutors emergency exchange, legal aid offices,, courts social- and health authorities, State Treasory, refuges, mediation offices, legal minority representative, lawyer’s offices, civic organizations etc. provide guidance for victims, too. The victims may not be aware of all the services10.9.2012 Country report- Finland: Aune Flinck 13
Challenges• Further development in security, sensitivity towards victims needs and support is needed during the mediation and criminal process should be encouraged.• Further research on victims experiences is needed.• Sufficient resources and governmental funding for victim services should be guaranteed.• More open conversation and cooperation between victim support organizations and RJ - capability to meet controversial questions and critisism.• Multiprofessional co-operation included mediation.• Mediation services have achieved reliability and position among the police, prosecutors and courts and they collaborate with mediation offices at several levels, but mediation has not yet achieved mutual trust in victim services.10.9.2012 Country report- Finland: Aune Flinck 14