Section Editors: Shelly Clevenger and Tracy Tamborra
In this edition, Dr. Shelly Clevenger – who was recently awarded the Division of Victimology’s Teacher of the Year award – shares an active learning assignment meant to simulate the experience of delivering an victim impact statement.
Dr. Shelly Clevenger's Write Your Own Victim Impact Statement
This assignment allows students to understand what it would be like to express feelings and harms suffered because of victimization through a written statement delivered publicly. Students are asked to pretend they are a victim and write their own victim impact statement.
They are provided with a choice of scenarios that describe a victimization for rape, burglary, robbery and murder (family of the victim). They are required to pick a scenario and write a statement that conveys the physical, financial and/or emotional harm they suffered. In this statement, they must also make sentencing and/or treatment recommendations for the offender and can request restitution.
Students then are given the option to read their statement to the class (which served as the courtroom that day in class). This approach allows students to experience victim impact statements rather to just hear about them through a lecture.