Victim Impact Panels
There is nothing more powerful than the spoken word of someone directly affected by an impaired driver. Personal account by victims and offenders evoke a compelling emotional response. The AAIM Speakers Bureau presentations are given to schools, DUI offenders in the courts, private industry, law enforcements and legal agencies. The goal is to create awareness, encourage prevention and illustrate the devastating consequences of impaired driving.
AAIM organizes Victim Impact Panels that reach over 700 defendants in several Illinois counties each month. AAIM's Victim Impact Panel is not punitive in nature. Judges order DUI defendants to attend Victim Impact Panels for prevention measures. AAIM is unique because we've never done a panel without offender speakers. At each panel we have two victims and one offender tell about the physical, emotional, spiritual and financial devastation that drunk drivers affect in a person's life.
Remorseful offenders also speak on the panel. They must be abstinent from all drugs and alcohol and take full responsibility for the devastation they have caused to innocent people.
For an offender to speak at a panel, he or she must pass an interview. The questions asked are as follows:
- Are you abstinent from alcohol or drugs?
- Do you take full blame for the crash?
- Are you truly remorseful?
- Do you want to make a difference?
Only those who meet these qualifications speak at panels.
The panels have proven to be the most successful tool in preventing recidivism. DUI offenders become aware of the enormous potential for tragedy that drinking and driving can cause. The panels are also presented in Spanish and Polish.
Victim Impact Panels also benefit the speakers. Telling their story to DUI offenders can lighten the enormous pain and promote personal healing. They may be preventing another family from having to suffer a similar victimization.
Victim Impact Panels are presented in Cook, DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Will, Jo Daviess, Winnebago, and Hammond, IN Counties. DUI offenders are often mandated by the court to attend these panels.