Victim-Offender Dialogues

What is a VOD

You’ve been ordered by the Judge, or you have agreed to participate, in a VICTIM-OFFENDER DIALOGUE, or "VOD." This will explain a VOD and your responsibilities.  

A VOD is just a conversation between you and the person who was harmed. The conversation will be led by a facilitator, who is trained to help you and the person who was harmed have a positive conversation about what happened. 

Sometimes the person harmed may not want to participate in the VOD. If that’s the case, you will meet with a victim of a similar crime or with a person who has volunteered to represent our community as a whole (a "community representative.") 

A VOD can happen either by video conference (for example, Zoom) or in-person, and is confidential. The facilitator will make every effort to create a safe, open and honest conversation. 

Research shows that those who participate in a Victim-Offender Dialogue are more satisfied with their experience with the justice system than people who do not participate in a VOD. This is true for both victims, who feel like they were heard, and for those who did the harm. 

You must register within three (3) working days of the day you were ordered or agreed to participate in a VOD, by leaving a voicemail at 515-286-3057 or you can email  When you call or email us, please provide the following information:  

  • Your Name  
  • Your phone number 
  • Your email address 
  • The criminal case number, located in the upper-left hand corner of the court order. 

The Polk County Attorney’s Office will contact you for further instruction on when and where your VOD will happen. 



The justice system often leaves victims with questions only the offender can answer. Have you ever wanted to ask the person who harmed you questions such as “Why me?” “What did I or my family ever do to you?”  “Did you ever consider the harm that your actions might cause?” 

If so, the Victim-Offender Dialogue is your opportunity to ask questions and tell the offender how you feel. 

If you choose to participate in VOD, you will meet with the offender(s) of the crime committed against you. Throughout the meeting, a trained mediator will facilitate to provide a safe, controlled setting. The Polk County Crisis and Advocacy Center will provide an advocate to support you during the meeting if you choose. 

You can ask any questions and express to the offender how the crime affected yourself and your family. If you were harmed financially, you may be entitled to restitution, or financial payments to reimburse you for the financial harm to you. At the VOD session, you and the offender can discuss restitution and a payment plan, if needed. The payment plan is frequently included in court orders that the offender(s) are required to follow. 

Research shows that those who participate in a Victim-Offender Dialogue are more satisfied with their experience with the justice system than people who do not participate in a VOD. 

To learn more about VOD, or to schedule a victim offender meeting, call the Polk County Attorney’s Office and talk with the Victim Liaison assigned to your case.