Victim Impact Panel

The Victim Impact Panel (VIP) was created to reduce DUI (driving under the influence) injuries and fatalities in Whatcom County. Speakers share personal stories about how a DUI impacted them, either personally or through the loss or injury of a loved one. The VIP has a history of providing a powerful voice about the consequences of impaired driving. The panel exposes honest realities of impaired driving and creates appreciation for the seriousness of driving while impaired.

VIP speakers deliver panels every 4-5 weeks (see schedule below). Panels are held in the County Courthouse and consist of 2 or 3 speakers who, in a non-accusatory manner, describe the emotional, social, financial, and/or other effects a DUI has caused in their lives. 
 
The Whatcom County Health Department is always looking for new panelists. If you have been impacted by a DUI and are interested in speaking on the panel, please contact the panel coordinator at 360-778-6049.
 

2019 Panel Schedule:

August 26                                              6:30-9:00 PM
September 30                                        6:30-9:00 PM
November 4                                           6:30-9:00 PM
December 9                                           6:30-9:00 PM

All panels are held in the council chambers of the county courthouse at 311 Grand Ave in Bellingham, WA.

Language interpretation services are available at no cost. Please call 360-778-6049 at least one week before the panel to make arrangements for an interpreter.
    
To receive a certificate of attendance, attendees must pay and register before attending and arrive with a photo ID.  Registration can be in person at the Health Department (509 Girard Street) until 4:30 the day of the panel. Online registration is available until midnight the day before the panel. Do not register online the day of the panel - your registration will not be processed that day!

Guests and the general public are welcome to attend free of charge, although the material may be unsuitable for young children.

DUI Victim Impact Panel Forms

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER ONLINE.  You can also register in person, M-F, 8:30-4:30 at the Health Department (509 Girard St.).

Victim Impact Panels have limited capacity, so register early! 
Online Registration Instructions.

Questions or Comments for the Panel Coordinator?

Chris D'Onofrio

cdonofri@co.whatcom.wa.us

360-778-6049


Visitors Tell How Panels Affect Them


The following comments are from individuals attending DUI Victim Impact Panels across Washington State.
 
Expectations:
"Not what I expected. Wow!"

Courage:
"Both speakers had incredible courage, and it’s important for them to share their stories."

We don't have a death hanging over us:

"The impact of the panel is awesome. No one can feel the same as they felt when they walked in, when they walk out. We are the lucky ones, in that we don't have a death hanging over us."

An immense flow of emotion:
"I cannot critique such as immense flow of emotion that I can't even fathom. By the blood of my soul, I will not drink and drive, and I will fight with tooth and nail those who dare."

I used to think:
"As a 1st time offender of DWI, I used to think that the sentencing was too strict; now, I believe it is not strict enough."

A decision to take control:
"Thank you for caring. And, most of all, thank you for helping me make a decision in my life to take control of my own destiny."

Totally overwhelmed:
"I am so totally overwhelmed by this that I cannot adequately put my feelings down on paper. Reality is really difficult to deal with. When I think of what I could have caused, I become very grateful and yet I know I didn't take the time to think things out. I really sincerely believe you have removed 1 more drinking driver from the roads."

A room so quiet:
"I have not sat in a room with this amount of people and had a room so quiet."

I don't want to tell a story like I've heard tonight:

"I sincerely hope that I do not have to ever sit up front like you people and tell a story like I've heard tonight."

Glad I was ordered by the Court to come:

"I was very deeply moved by this panel. I am truly glad I was ordered by the court to come here."

Scares the hell out of me:
"I can honestly say that it scares the hell out of me to think I could inflict this pain on anyone. It will never happen again."