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A victim impact panel consists of victims/survivors of crime who are willing to share their victimization with others. Although the Victim Services Division has utilized victim impact panels for many years as a portion of victim awareness and sensitivity training, due to the increasing number of victims/survivors who requested to participate on a panel, the Victim Impact Panel Program was implemented as a separate program specifically designed to assist victims with their recovery process.
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. Many panelists have requested to continue speaking on subsequent panels.
An additional benefit of victim impact panels is the heightened victim sensitivity and awareness an audience gains by hearing the devastating and long-term effects of crime from the victim or a survivor of a victim. Various audiences include criminal justice professionals, victim advocate groups, offenders, and others.