S.T.A.C.I.E. Foundation’s Call To Action
Strive To Achieve Compassion, Intervention, & Education.
Our Mission: To promote healing and offer hope to survivors of violent crime.
Strive in our commitment to offer healing to those suffering traumas from violent crimes;
To recognize that we are braver than we believe, stronger than we seem, and smarter than we think;
Achieve to bring to justice to those who perpetrate crimes and exploit other human beings;
Compassion to unmask the darkness that shrouds victims living in hopelessness, whose lives that have been potentially destroyed by violent crimes, are restored;
Intervention for all victims and their families and joining the fight against all forms of violence, stepping into action in our own neighborhoods, in close collaboration and cooperation with local and state law enforcement agencies and other local partners;
Education to understanding the scale of the problem and emphasis that trauma associated with violent crime destroys the lives of individuals and erodes security in communities and by embracing those suffering in silence.
Our mission is to help others regain their lives after the devastating effects of trauma due to violent crimes. We believe victims have an inner strength that has been waylaid due to suffering such devastation. We want you to rediscover perseverance, a renewed hope, and purpose by walking with you through the darkest days of your life. There is always hope, when you choose to seek it.
Our mission is help other victims on their personal journey of navigating the justice system as a Victim Advocate, or support person and assist you with writing and presenting your Victim Impact Statement. A victim impact statement is a written or oral statement made as part of the judicial legal process, which allows crime victims the opportunity to speak during the sentencing of the convicted person and or at subsequent parole hearings.
Lorraine Whoberry, and only surviving daughter, Kristie, by her side, took the witness stand after an arduous and excruciating long week of complied evidence, and horrifying testimonies against the man who brutally attacked her two teenage daughters. Lorraine with one arm around Kristie, her other hand shaking as she held their impact statements, stood and faced the murderer speaking from a mother and sisters’ hearts. Lorraine shared the anguish, shock, grief and nightmares they still suffered three years later at the sentencing of the offender, to grievously tell of the impact and devastation his crime caused against her , her daughters, their family and the community.
To stand before a perpetrator with a loved one by your side is extremely difficult. Can you imagine having no one to support you while enduring such a heart-stopping moment? It sends you spiraling back into the darkness of pain and suffering all over again, while desperately trying to find the courage and the words to speak of those tragic events that grievously traumatized you and your family.
The S.T.A.C.I.E. Teams knows and understands the impact of victimization and trauma personally. We’d like to offer you a shoulder, a listening ear, and support in assisting you as you navigate uncharted waters. We have volunteers ready to help. We will meet with you, listen with ears wide open, answer your questions, offer support at motions and hearings, the trial and sentencing and help you prepare your impact statement, as well as beyond for as long as you need us.
Lorraine, at the request of the Hamilton County Prosecutors Office, assisted Sam De Bois’ family, a victim in the University of Cincinnati Campus Police shooting, as well as a court advocate to other families in crisis. Lorraine serves as committee member for Department of Ohio Youth Services, Interstate Compact for Juveniles (ICJ) State Council.
How to Write a Victim Impact Statement?
There are multiple options to help you decide what best meets your needs and how you choose to participate:
- Present your Impact Statement to the court at sentencing.
- Have a family member, friend or associate present your Impact Statement to the court, on your behalf.
- Have a family member, friend or associate stand with you as you present your Impact Statement to the court.
- Some victims choose not to participate.
The impact statement becomes part of the offender’s permanent file and serves as a reminder of the harm they’ve caused you.
As you are preparing your impact statement, you may find that using the following questions can guide you. Remember that writing about your feelings may be very painful, so be sure to pace yourself and don’t feel that you need to have it “perfect”. Be gentle with yourself and take as many breaks during the presentation, as you need. As you are preparing your statement, you may find that the following questions can guide you:
- How did the crime affect you and your family?
- What was the emotional impact of the crime on you and your family?
- What was the financial impact on you and your family?
- Do you have any recommendations to the court about disposition (sentencing) of this case?
- Is there anything else you would like to tell the court?
The above guidelines do not cover the totality of the impact of crime but may be used as a starting point. Victim Impact statements are unique to you and people have various ways of expressing how crime has affected them. Even though guidelines are typically given to you before sentencing, and there is much flexibility in how you present your statement, there are things you will need to take into consideration.
- Write simply and descriptively. Your goal is to help the court feel your trauma. While nobody can truly understand what you are feeling, you can help others identify with your trauma by using feeling evoking words and phrases. Using descriptive words can help people form an image of what you are saying.
- Do address the judge, or paroling authority, when you speak. You may want to talk directly to the offender. If this is something you want to do, ask permission from the judge first. You can still say what you need regarding the offender through the judge.
- Do ask permission if a picture is part of your statement. More often than not this is allowed, but any visual aids you utilize will need permission from the court first.
- Do write out your statement in advance. Presenting a statement is emotional. You may think you know what you want to say but when the time comes, your emotions could take over and your train of thought is lost. If this occurs, you can read directly from your statement.
- Do have an alternate person that can read your statement in case you cannot finish.
- Don’t directly express your anger toward the court or the offender. Your goal is to express your hurt and your pain, not to blame. The blame has already been placed on the offender, so now is the time to talk about what you have been experiencing through your loss.
- Don’t use unsuitable language, as it will diminish the effectiveness of your statement.
- Don’t describe what you want to happen to the offender in prison. Please do not get descriptive about any harm you would like to see imposed.
- Don’t put personal, identifying information in your letter and do not say it verbally in court. This includes your physical address, mailing address, email address and phone number. The offender will be provided copies of all letters submitted. If you state this out loud in court, it will be another opportunity for the offender to contact you in the future.
What Happens to my Victim Impact Statement? Do I Have to Read it in Court?
Preparing and presenting an impact statement in court, or in front of a paroling or probation agency, can be intimidating. If you do not think you can physically stand in front of the offender(s) and read your statement, have an alternate in mind beforehand. It does not matter who presents your statement as long as you have identified this person in advance. Many times, victim advocates are asked to present impact statements. It does not have to be a victim advocate and should be someone you feel comfortable expressing your words.
If you submit a letter, this will become part of the court file, the prosecutor’s file and defense file. Victim Impact Statements can also be included in the offender’s Department of Corrections file. It could be subject to public disclosure. This is why it is essential to not include contact information in your statements, written or verbally.
Why Write a Victim Impact Statement?
You have the right to submit and present a Victim Impact Statement to the courts at sentencing of the offender(s), but it is not mandatory that you write an impact statement. If you choose to give an Impact Statement, you are required to submit your Impact Statement to the courts prior to sentencing.
There are several reasons why Victim Impact Statements are beneficial. The reasons stated below are just a few.
- The judge gets to hear your side of the story. This is usually the first time this occurs. Throughout the criminal justice process, the focus is on the offender(s). Hearing from those that are affected by the crime puts a face with and gives a voice to an often-forgotten victim(s).
- You have a chance to tell the judge how you want sentencing to occur. More often than not, cases conclude by a plea offer. Many times, the prosecutor and defense have agreed to a recommended amount of time. The judge is not bound by that agreement. You can make a difference in the amount of time an offender receives by speaking up. This is true in cases that go to trial as well.
- You have the opportunity to address the court, and the offender(s) by way of the court, about how the crime has affected you. Many find this helpful in the journey of healing from victimization. Letting those know how they harmed you can be beneficial for emotional well-being.
Our hope is that you will find the strength and perseverance to stand up and speak of the atrocities that you’ve suffered due to the offenders choices. And our goal is to offer you guidance and support to help you stand face to face with the offender(s). We have volunteers ready to assist you in preparing and/or presenting your Victim Impact Statement to courts at sentencing of the offender. We are here to answer any questions you may have so please contact us at email@example.com.
Excerpt taken from: Victim Impact Services: https://victimsupportservices.org/help-for-victims/victim-impact-statements/
Lorraine and her family were instrumental in the changes in Virginia House Bill 913, revision of the Virginia Code £ 19.2-11.4 “Establishment of victim offender mediation program” and amended the language to allow face to face mediation with offender and victim(s) in Capital murder cases when both parties agree. Although this was implemented too late for Lorraine and her family to take part in, she prays it will benefit other families walking a similar journey.
Other successful amendments to Prince William County Law Enforcement and adopted by other Law Enforcement Agencies include: death notifications, now made in person by a team of Officers partnered with Chaplains; Victim(s)/Witnesses notified by Prosecuting Attorney’s office regarding all motions, hearings, trial dates, and/or offender transports; Victim(s)/Witness kept apprised of case and all court appearances by the defendant; Prosecuting Attorney’s office prepares the victim(s)/witness of testimony, agenda or changes prior to court proceedings/trials.
Lorraine serves as a Victim Impact Speaker and Victim Offender Dialogue Facilitator for the Ohio Department of Corrections and speaks Nationwide sharing her journey.