Source: (2001) Contemporary Justice Review 4(3, 4): 355-368.

The present article looks at the effectiveness of Victim Impact Panels for victims and offenders in domestic violence cases. A study was conducted in five court jurisdictions in the State of Arkansas that used Victim Impact Panels for helping victims and offenders heal from the effects of domestic violence. The feelings of victims and offenders toward the impact panels were measured, as was the effectiveness of the panels for reducing future incidents of violence. Victims reported some satisfaction in the process because they were given the opportunity to tell their stories, and offenders reported having a clearer sense of the effects of their actions on others. However, with respect to subsequent convictions for offenders for a domestic violence related offense, there was no difference between rates for the control and experimental groups. The study points to the restorative contribution that Victim Impact Panels can make but also to the need for additional and in-depth research on the nature of that contribution.