A victim impact panel typically
consists of 1-2 victims, who may find it healing and restorative to
share the details of their victimization with
others. Additionally, police officers, emergency room nurses, and
rescue personnel participate in the panel to give the full scope of
the consequences of drunk driving. Impact Panels were designed
specifically to assist victims with their recovery and healing
Historically, victims have been
excluded from the criminal justice process, which only served to
compound their confusion, frustration, pain, and anger. Speaking on
a victim impact panel provides victims with an appropriate forum in
which to express their feelings and talk about their victimization.
Victims who have participated on victim impact panels have reported
a sense of empowerment and healing as a result.
The increase in value comes when not only have victims been
empowered, but also, offenders have been forever changed because
of the experience. Many times offenders feel like society owes them
because they feel they are already paying for the crime by serving
time. Victims do not get just a five-year sentence, they get a life
Panelists who speak to offenders help offenders realize the long-term effect their choices have on their victims. This raises awareness and addresses accountability for offenders, many offenders admit guilt for the first time, and many more take responsibility for their actions.