Victim Impact Panel (VIP) speakers are the core of Restorative Justice of Northwest Wisconsin’s VIP program. What is asked of them is at times painful, often they are reliving the worst moments of their lives. Speakers are victims or offenders of a drunk or drugged driving crash. They share their story to a room full of OWI offenders. Speakers tell of how their lives have been affected by the sudden loss or injury due to someone choice to drive while impaired. This given the offenders a firsthand account of what could happen if they continue to make the choice to get behind the wheel of a vehicle.
The goal of the VIP is not to blame or judge but to help offenders to internalize what could happen and to promote positive change. Speakers are also able to explain the ripple effect that these tragic incidents have on friends, families, and others in the community. Victims may find that telling their stories lightens their personal pain, which promotes their own healing process.
There are three types of speakers needed. One is the victim, which may be either someone whom has lost a friend or family member to a drunk driving crash or been injured by the decisions of others. The secondary victim. They are the rescue professionals that respond to these crashes. They include law enforcement, firefighters, and ambulance paramedics. These individuals must deal with what they have seen. The last is the OWI offender. This is someone who has caused death or injury while driving under the influence.
If you have been affected by an alcohol or drug related crash and are interested in becoming a speaker please contact Restorative Justice at 349-2117. The story you share could save a life.