This proposal requests funding for a 32 month project, """"""""Drunken Driving Victim Impact Panels: Victim Outcomes"""""""". Attempts to deter drunken driving have been rather costly but largely ineffective. One new approach sentences convicted drunk drivers to attend Victim Impact Panels (VIPs) where drunken driving victims describe, the impact of the crime on themselves and their families. Early recidivism studies suggest that VIPs may be an effective inexpensive deterrent to repeated offenses. Such panels are being implemented by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) at a rapidly increasing rate across the country (10 in 1988; over 200 today). It is therefore critical to know the impact, positive or negative, on those victims who comprise VIPs. Since the literature suggests a variety of problems which plague some victims of crime for a prolonged period, this study will assess the impact of VIP activity on the life of victims in a quasi-experimental design using multiple repeated Measures and a variety of control groups. After telephone identification of potential subjects from MADD victim panel members, MADD potential victim panel members, a non-MADD victim group, and non-victim groups within MADD and outside MADD, will be surveyed by mail. Respondents will randomly be assigned to groups for testing once, twice. or three times to test for effects of panel membership. While informal reports to date are generally positive, the possibility of negative consequences to victims must be explored to prevent re-victimization as a result of panel membership. If broad negative consequences are found, victim organizations may discourage participation in the future. If this study identifies those at risk for negative outcomes, such persons could be excluded from future panels. If the consequences of panel participation is positive, dissemination of such data may spur use of such panels in the criminal justice system across the country, especially if continued studies support their deterrent value. Victim organizations would then encourage victims to participate to aid in the victim's own recovery process as well as for altruistic or """"""""changing the system"""""""" purposes. Results of this study will add to the knowledge base of the long-term impact on vehicular crash victims and whether panel participation affects that adjustment. Policy implications for sentencing, for supporting victims, and for preventing a possible """"""""third victimization"""""""" are inherent in this study.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Project (R01)
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Criminal and Violent Behavior Research Review Committee (CVR)
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Eastern Kentucky University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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