Victim Impact Panel

*VIP COVID UPDATE*



After cancellations in spring and summer of 2020, the VIP resumed on August 31st using an online-only format.


The online meetings are being presented with the GoToMeeting platform, which is very similar to Zoom. Registered individuals will be sent a link to access the meeting. After the online presentation, attendees are required to complete a brief online survey to demonstrate that they attended the meeting. Certificates of attendance are sent to all attendees who complete and submit surveys. You can register online or by calling 360-778-6002.

For more information, contact the panel coordinator:

Chris D'Onofrio Victim Impact Panel Coordinator
cdonofri@co.whatcom.wa.us 
360-778-6049 (desk)
360-303-0134 (cell)

About the VIP

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 on Monday evenings every 4-5 weeks (see schedule below). Panels 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.
                                      

Panel Schedule:

December 14, 2020:   
Accepting online and phone registrations for online-only panel; registration closes on 12/11/20.

January 25, 2021
Accepting online and phone registrations for online-only panel; registration closes on 01/22/21.

February 22, 2021
Accepting online and phone registrations for online-only panel; registration closes on 02/18/21.

March 29, 2021
May 3, 2021
June 7, 2021
July 12, 2021
August 16, 2021
September 20, 2021
October 25, 2021
November 29, 2021
December 20, 2021


Language interpretation services are available at no cost, but you must 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 attendingOnline registration is available until one week before the panel.

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

DUI Victim Impact Panel Forms

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."