OVC Provider Forum Transcript

Serving Victims of Impaired Driving
Debbie Weir, John M. Evans  -  2006/12/15
I have trouble getting referrals in my community even though the DA's office and Police Dep't are well aware that I am here. What are some of the more successful ways to connect with victims earlier than when trials start.
1.  lesley s-brogan
 No I am not a MADD Victim Advocate, my contract is through County STOP DWI. I do have contacts with the Police Departments but I have not gotten one referral and I have been in this position for one and a half years. I get really frustrated. Do you have ideas for how I can be more aggressive?Currenlty, I coordinate speakers for the Impact Panel and schools. I have a panel of 12 speakers who hav been doing this for a while. I need to get in touch with current victims however. Also, has anyone had succes with support groups for victims. If so, what type of format works and what do victims respond to. I have tried this too and got few results.
2.  Debbie Weir
 Are you a MADD victim advocate? To obtain more referrals, many MADD victim advocates will read the newspapers and inquire regarding crashes directly to local law enforcment offices.
There is much talk these days about the numerous "benefits" that the legalization of currently illicit drugs will bring. Taking into consideration the amount of deaths caused by driving while intoxicated, do you believe that if other drugs such as marijuana, heroin, and cocaine were legalized that the number of deaths caused by driving while under the influence of these substances would increase?
1.  Debbie Weir
 MADD serves victims of drunk or drugged driving, both are forms of impairment. We are seeing an increase in the amount of services provided to victims of drugged driving. In many cases of drugged driving, the driver is also intoxicated.
When is the next training for "Victim Impact Panels/Classes Training" and do you have any dvds on "Speaking with Impact Seminars for victim survivors"?
1.  Debbie Weir
 MADD offers training for VIP speakers. We will take any requests. There are currently no trainings scheduled at this time. At this time, we do not have a current DVD, but we will develop one in the future.
2.  Debbie Weir
 MADD serves victims of both drunk and drugged driving. We are seeing an increase in the amount of drugged driving victims utilizing our services.
What do we require or need to meet in order to get a paid "victim advocate" for our chapter?
1.  Debbie Weir
 Please feel free to call me. At this time, new victim advocate positions are posted when the resources are available.
We have a stong MADD group here who are holding Victim Impact programs once a month. Our substance abuse prevention agency would like to collaborate with MADD and the SADD programs Beside money, what are the best resources we could offer MADD?
1.  Debbie Weir
 I would encourage you to meet with your local MADD organization and discuss what their needs are. There could be an array of needs in which you might be helpful.
As both a police officer and a college professor, I wonder if there is research going on regarding definitive testing for OUI Drugs. The breathalyzer has made testing for OUI alcohol relatively routine. Is there some type of chemical test being worked on to show the presence of certain drugs? I have always wished for a piece of magic chewing gum that turned one color for cocaine and another for heroin.
1.  Debbie Weir
 I am not aware of any research at this time, but I would encourage you to call 1-800-438-6233 and ask MADD's Public Policy Department. They will have more knowledge in this area.
Our Correctional Dept. (Iowa) is currently embracing Evidence-Based Practices for all of our interventions with offenders in the criminal justice system. The evidence for the effectiveness of victim impact panels is lacking. Although speaking on panels may be beneficial for those survivors who choose to participate, it may deter some as one of the stated desires for speaking is to have an impact on the offenders. How does MADD respond to the research out there that suggests these mandatory VIP panels are ineffective in deterring drunk driving?
1.  Debbie Weir
 Frankly, the research is mixed. We are currently developing and implementing VIP Best Practices which will be duplicated throughout all MADD VIPs.
Can you tell me more about MADD's national campaign to eliminate drunk driving?
1.  Debbie Weir
 We are very excited regarding the launch of MADD's Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving. The campaign is a multi-pronged approach which includes law enforcement, current technologies, advanced technologies, and public support. Please refer to madd.org for more information.
Are there any changes or discussion related to the fact that DUI victims can't get any monetary assistance related to the vehicle damage?
1.  Debbie Weir
 A search just revealed that in Colorado, residential property damage may be an eligible expense. That being said, this varies from state to state-and our experience has been that in most states, compensation for property damage is not an eligible expense.
2.  Debbie Weir
 I am assuming you are referring to Crime Victim Compensation. We are unaware of any discussion or trend in which a victim would be compensated for property damage.
What is the best course of action for a communtiy to take in reducing teens involved with DWI/DUI cases. It is a big problem here in Texas.
1.  Debbie Weir
 The best strategy in combating teen drinking is to limit access to alcohol. MADD works on compliance checks with local law enforcement and MADD's Youth in Action teams. There also needs to be more education with adults since most teens acquire alcohol from adults. Please visit madd.org for more important information on this topic.
Would the addition of "property damage" relating to crime victims compensation have to be taken before legislature or is that a federal decision?
1.  Debbie Weir
 Crime Victim Compensation eligibility requirements and terms are determined at the state level.
As a Senior Crime Victim Advocate, what type of training would be recommended for first-time advocates working with victims of DUI cases?
1.  Debbie Weir
 I would highly recommend MADD's Beginning Victim Assistance Training Institute. Please call 1-800-438-6233 for information on upcoming trainings.
Are there any best practices that show how the courts, law enforcement, and communities are working to understanding the causes of DWI?
1.  Anonymous
 What I mean is what level of collaboration is going on among the stake holders?
2.  victim advocate
 I don't understand the question. Can you clarify ? I think the courts understand the causes of DWI to be someone drinking and then choosing to get behind the wheel of a car.
3.  Debbie Weir
 Could you please clarify your question?MADD's Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving addresses some of these issues. Please refer to madd.org.
What are the schools doing in the way of prevention and is MADD developing any literature that could be used the teach junior high school students about the dangers?
1.  Debbie Weir
 MADD has a school outreach multi-media show that travels to over 1400 schools nationwide. For more information call 1-800-438-6233 or visit madd.org.
Are there any good programs that help judges understand the fallout that family members experience beyond the court case?
1.  Debbie Weir
 Great, great question. Unfortunately, I do not know of any. MADD does provide vital assistance to victims in developing victim impact statements which do make a difference. MADD does provide educational information to judges regarding issues such as trauma, child endangerment, etc.
What is the best source for getting valid and reliable DWI data that is current?
1.  Don Hagen
 Contact your State's Highway Safety Office for information on DWI crash data
2.  Debbie Weir
 I would check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA)website for the most current FARS data.
How can one start a local MADD program geared toward working with crime victims in rural areas?
1.  Debbie Weir
 Great, great question. Rural victims are underserved and MADD would like to build our field capacity. Please call MADD National at 1-800-438-6233. We would be happy to assist.
What is the Department of Transportation doing to help local communities to support crime victms that result from DWI?
1.  Debbie Weir
 Most State Departments of Transportation focus on safer roads which would decrease fatalities and injuries. They also work in collaboration with groups such as MADD.
I want to thank MADD for there hard work. How can we on the local level better help MADD?
1.  Debbie Weir
 Thank you so much for your support. MADD can always use support from community members. There are multiple ways you could help your local MADD entity. I would recommend that you contact your local entity to see what they need. Feel free to contact the National office for local contact information. MADD welcomes volunteers to assist in helping victims, supporting program efforts, and assisting with special events. Additionally, MADD welcomes donations that fund our mission efforts.
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