Make Your Voice Heard Through Your Victim Impact Statement

Posted: February 10, 2011 in Victim's Rights
Tags: , ,

Many of us impacted by drunk driving never planned on being in the court room.  In fact, most of us work hard to stay out of the court room by being law abiding citizens.  However, when someone you know and love is injured or killed in an alcohol-related crash you immediately become a victim of the crime.  A 100 % preventable crime.

It is not uncommon for victims/survivors to feel powerless and intimidated by the criminal justice system.  When you have been victimized by another person’s actions, it is often hard to drum up the energy to not only cope with the trauma of the loss but then sustain your energy to follow the court case to the end.

Sometimes I think the offender counts on us wearing down and not maintaining our resolve to see the case through to the end.  In countless cases, including today’s case involving the four motorcyclists killed in Iowa http://www.kptm.com/Global/story.asp?S=14007191, I see victim’s families hang in there to ensure that justice is in fact served.  The guilty plea may be in but that is only another chapter and much work needs to be done prior to sentencing.

This is where the victim’s voice can be heard, at last, through your personal Victim Impact Statement.

Laws exist in every state which allows for the victim/survivors to provide a written statement and read it in court.  These statements are presented after the defendant has been convicted and prior to sentencing. MADD has a workbook titled “Your Victim Impact Statement” to guide you through the process of creating your personal victim impact statement.

Staying an active participant in the criminal court process may cause stress or it may help to diffuse energy that could be used for emotional, physical and spiritual resolve.  Participating in the criminal court process can give some victim/survivors a sense of completeness and closure. It will not cause you to grieve any less or erase the horror of the injury or death of a loved one.  Nevertheless, it may provide you some sense of accomplishment.  We never knew the impact was coming but we sure can make our voices heard in honor of those we love and care so deeply about……their life was not in vain if you take time to tell the court that your loss is not a number. No, your loss is person that provided love, laughs and ongoing friendship that can never be replace in this lifetime.

At MADD,  we help survivors survive http://www.madd.org/victim-services/

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