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of the Impact Panel Program are:
enhance the emotional healing of victims by offering them an outlet to speak
of their experience and to believe that their participation may prevent others
from experiencing a similar tragedy;
- to enable offenders
to understand impaired driving from the victim's perspective; and
- to imprint in
the minds of offenders true stories, told from the heart, which might be recalled
later when a decision to drink and drive is
the Impact Panel works:
Panel members, along
with the Panel Facilitator, are seated together, usually behind a table at the
front of the room. Casual, comfortable clothing is suggested.
Most of the audience
will consist of convicted impaired driving offenders ordered to attend the session.
Others present may include judges, probation officers, law enforcement officials,
and people in alcohol treatment programs.
The media may be
present. If any panel member objects to the media's presence, they should inform
the panel coordinator who will protect their right to privacy.
A panel facilitator
will open the meeting and announce its close. The facilitator will briefly introduce
each panelist, after which a panelist will speak for about 10 minutes and not
more than 15 minutes. The facilitator will signal the speaker when he or she
has three remaining minutes and then one minute remaining.
Panel speakers are
not expected to interact with attendees unless they choose to do so informally
after the presentation. In some settings with small audiences, a brief question
and answer period may be appropriate if panel members agree beforehand. All
participants should always answer every question courteously.
it Simply . . .
tell your story in about ten minutes. After you've given the facts of
the crash for a couple of minutes, talk about how it affects you today.
That way, your presentation will change each time you tell your story,
and will be fresh for you and your audience. Jot down a few notes before
you speak, but don't over-rehearse. Speak what is true for you at the
time. You can trust that it will be "right" as long as it stems from your
. . .
- Tell what happened
to you (what, when, how, who was killed or injured).
- Express how the
death or injury affected you, your marriage, family, friends, career, and
life in general. It is sometimes effective to describe a typical day before
the crash and contrast it with a typical day after.
- Use visual aids
if they enhance your story. Photos of you or your loved one before the crash,
the death certificate, autopsy reports, medical aids or other mementos can
significantly add to your story. If crash photos are used, do not show bodies
of the victims. If the audience is large, arrange with the coordinator for
photos to be projected on a large screen by slide or PowerPoint.
- Speak from the
heart. Don't worry if you become emotional, although grieving deeply may be
hard on you and make listeners uncomfortable. Moderate amounts of genuine
emotion (never contrived) communicate very effectively. If you need to stop
for a few seconds to regain your composure, simply do so. Organize some notes
if that gives you more confidence but don't read from a prepared statement.
. . .
- Express your opinion
about the criminal or civil justice systems.
- Use the phrase
"drunk or impaired driver" unless the court convicted the offender of impaired
driving. Otherwise, use "the offender whose blood alcohol content was ___"
or some other verifiable fact. If the offender died in the crash, give the
blood alcohol content on the autopsy report.
- Blame or accuse
those in your audience.
- Evangelize the
audience. It is appropriate to talk about how your faith has helped you but
not what you think members of the audience should believe or do.
- Express significant
anger or rage unless you are able to acknowledge the hurt and pain underneath.
This distances you from the audience and will cause them to shut you out.
Expressions of hurt and sadness are much more effective.
- Tell those in
the audience what they "should" or "should not" do.
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