Victim Impact: Listen and Learn Videotape Discussion Guide


The powerful voices of victims have driven significant criminal and juvenile justice system reforms, as well as improvements in how victims are viewed, treated and served, for over 30 years. When crime victims share their painful yet powerful experiences, there are many lessons that help us better respond to crime victims and survivors—as family members, friends, co-workers, and helping professionals.

Videotapes of victims who are courageous enough to share their experiences are utilized to train victim service providers and allied justice professionals, in order to improve their understanding of the physical, emotional, financial and spiritual impact of crime on victims, as well as to how to better serve victims in need of support and services. They have also been utilized in classes for convicted and adjudicated offenders to help them understand how their criminal and delinquent actions harm others.

Use of This Videotape/DVD

The voices of crime victims can have a powerful impact on a wide range of audiences. “Victim Impact: Listen and Learn” was developed to promote a better understanding of how we are all affected by the devastation of crime in America.

Target audiences for this videotape/DVD include:

  • Crime victims and survivors.
  • Community- and system-based victim assistance professionals and volunteers.
  • Criminal and juvenile justice officials.
  • Mental health professionals.
  • Health professionals.
  • Schools and academia.
  • Representatives from inter-faith communities.
  • Civic organizations.
  • Philanthropic organizations.
  • The community-at-large.
  • Adult and juvenile offenders (see below).

“Impact of Crime on Victims” Classes for Offenders

The “Impact of Crime on Victims” (ICV) classes were initiated in 1985 by the California Youth Authority, and have since been adapted in over 40 states in adult and juvenile institutional corrections, community corrections, diversion programs, and youth courts. The programs are educational (and sometimes therapeutic) models that range from 40-hour intensive programs that address a complete range of non-violent and violent crimes, to 12 one-hour classes designed for offenders under community supervision, to a one-to-three hour class sponsored by courts in conjunction with Mothers Against Drunk Driving chapters for convicted DUI offenders.

The goal of the ICV classes is to help offenders understand the immediate-, short- and long-term impact that their criminal or delinquent actions have on their victims and the victims’ families; their own families; their communities; and themselves. The five objectives established by ICV co-founders Sharon English and Marti Crawford for the ICV program and offenders are to:

• Explore how they view the rights of other people.
• Raise their awareness of the long-term impact of their actions.
• Provide opportunities to help them become non-abusive parents, and good spouses/partners.
• Discuss their tendency to depersonalize the people they injure.
• Consider how they are accountable for the crimes they committed.

The most powerful ICV presentations are those offered by victims/survivors, who can discuss first-hand how crime devastates lives, homes and communities, and how they were personally affected by violent or non-violent crimes—physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually.

When crime victim speakers are not available, videotapes of victims sharing their experiences and talking about the impact of their victimization are also used as valuable education and discussion tools for ICV classes.

Victim Impact: Listen and Learn

The Victim Impact: Listen and Learn videotape/DVD series was developed by the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), U.S. Department of Justice, to provide highly personal insights into the impact of crime on victims.

Since 1988, OVC has sponsored numerous national-level training and technical assistance projects that help correctional agencies implement victims’ rights, provide quality services to victims and survivors of crime, and sponsor programs that hold offenders accountable for their crimes. OVC support has resulted in the establishment of victim services programs in 48 adult correctional agencies, half of juvenile correctional agencies, and hundreds of probation and parole agencies.

OVC’s support of this important project reflects an understanding that victims’ concerns, needs and experiences are critical elements in developing offender accountability programs, as well as balanced and effective victim assistance programs.

The video/DVD can be ordered from the NCJRS web site at Select Publications/Products from the top of the page and then click on the "V" to be taken directly to the "Victim Impact: Listen and Learn" link. The DVD order number is NCJ 202905 and the VHS order number is NCJ 202904. There is a $12.25 fee, per copy, which includes shipping and handling.

Fourteen Videotape Vignettes

The Victim Impact: Listen and Learn videotape/DVD series features powerful vignettes of 14 victims/survivors sharing their experiences—how they were victimized, the short- and long-term impact of their victimization on themselves, as well as their families and friends, and their suggestions for holding offenders accountable for their crimes. Topics include:

Click here to go to Discussion Guide:

1. Arson-Related Homicide (Peggy)
2. Assault (Alan)
3. Burglary (Leanna)
4. Child Sexual Abuse (Nia)
5. Child Abuse and Neglect (Ron)
6. Crimes Against a Person With a Disability (Kimberly)
7. Domestic Violence (Rebel)
8. Drunk Driving (Cindi)
9. Gang-Related Homicide (Teri)
10. Hate Crime (Jee Young)
11. Homicide (Amy)
12. Homicide (Myrtle)
13. Rape (Debbie)
14. Robbery (Jim)

Discussion Guides

In order to have the most effective impact in viewing and discussing each victim’s experience, each “victim vignette” is accompanied by a brief discussion guide that offers questions for individual or group responses, based upon each victim’s experiences and commentary. These are intended to encourage positive discussions among viewers, and encourage them to focus on the impact that crime has on victims, their families, and communities.

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Justice Solutions.
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Last Modified:
April 2, 2011

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