Do Victim Impact Panels Really Work?

August 17, 2016

You’ve likely heard about victim impact panels or witnessed them on television or in movies. Often a person is required to take part in such a panel because they’ve been arrested and charged with impaired driving or other offenses. Attending a victim impact panel is part of their sentence.

Upon arrival, they meet others like themselves who are required to attend for similar reasons.  As the panel discussion begins, victims of impaired driving or the relatives of victims speak out about their experiences and how their lives have been impacted.  They speak of the loss of loved ones and debilitating physical and emotional injuries.

The goal is to get the participants to understand the full scope of what they’ve done and how their actions have impacted others. Hearing directly from these victims will hopefully have a lasting impact on the participants, helping to prevent them from repeating these actions.

Why Victim Impact Panels Fail

While victim impact panels seem like a good idea, they are not always successful or effective. Those attending are just required to be present and listen. No other participation is required. This means attendees can just zone out rather than pay attention to what is being said. Once the panel speakers are done, they’re done.

Also the victims who speak out during these panels are real people who have been hurt and impacted due to poor decisions made by others. They are not professional speakers so often many will wander off topic as they speak and lose the interest of attendees.

Do Victim Impact Panels Really Work?

Engagement On A Personal Level

YouImpact’s online program is based on a victim impact panel, but that is where the comparison ends.

The YouImpact program is designed to confront defendants with the consequences of driving impaired through a series of videos featuring guided, personal stories from 15 subjects, both victims and offenders. Each person in these videos speaks in detail about how their lives were impacted by destructive driving decisions.

This online course requires engagement on a personal level. In addition to watching each of these videos, participants are also required to take an online test after each video.

The tests ask questions about the content of the video, but also offer questions meant to make the defendants process the stories they have heard and relate them to their destructive behavior. Each test must be passed with a score of 100 percent within five days of enrollment in order to complete the course successfully.

This type of participant engagement is what makes the YouImpact program so unique and effective. It’s also why this program is so popular with judges and the legal system. Another reason for its growing use is that it puts the burden of cost on the defendants rather than the court system.  Each person required to take this online course must pay for it themselves.

Defendants can take the course at anytime and from any laptop, computer, tablet or smartphone that has access to the Internet.

YouImpact Inspires Positive Change

The personal and individual nature of the YouImpact online program allows participants to feel the impact of the stories being told. In fact, more than 72 percent of those who have completed this course say the program inspired them to make positive changes in their lives.

What do you think about this article? Please comment below. And if you’d like more information about the YouImpact program, contact us today.

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