Crime Victimization & Victim Impact: Nuts & Bolts and Some “Intangibles”


Just keeping afloat in 2018, takes incredible fortitude and courage. Seemingly at every turn we see violence, sadness, corruption, natural disaster, loss of morality, indifference and a general dumbing down of standards that used to be impenetrable. When we have such forces as our backdrop for life, our yardstick, how do we possibly deal with our personal devastation in the aftermath of crime? How do we personally keep afloat and find a sense of hope? It is the hardest challenge we will ever face!

Who Does a Better Job?

Although we have made great strides with the infrastructure of victim advocacy over the years, the humanity, the compassion and support and the going the extra mile often lags behind when it comes to governmental services perpetually faced with financial cuts. In my opinion, it is the grass roots non-profit organizations who have figured out how to do more with less and make friends with community partners and survivors of crime who appear to be better equipped to provide the services most needed.

Nuts & Bolts of Victim Impact Statement:

During the sentencing phase of a trial or board of pardons and parole hearing, a crime victim is metaphorically standing at the crossroads of their forever after existence. That person hopefully has given much thought and has decided what is truly important to convey to the court or BPP officials individually, or collectively, with the assistance of a paid advocate or fellow survivor.  As the surviving victim, you should ask yourself before you even attempt to compose a statement, what should be my primary focus? What do I really want?

A review of possible options:

  • The emotional impact and devastation of my loss;
  • Financial  restitution;
  • Requesting a verbal or written apology from the offender;
  • Having the opportunity to add new  information to the formal record with the potential of altering the length and provisions of sentencing;
  • Using this forum for emotional release;
  • Describing the future legacy of your murdered loved one;
  • Educating judicial officials regarding your unique needs and nuances of the process which were previously overlooked but very important to you;
  • Expressing forgiveness to “a higher power” as a way of self-healing;

Other Considerations:

  • In the State of Connecticut when delivering your victim impact statement, you are not limited regarding the length of time, nor is the content edited in any way, according to our Board of Pardons and Parole website and personal experience.
  • In the State of South Carolina, a videotaped statement cannot exceed five minutes in the case of one victim, ten minutes for multiple victims.
  • (Be sure to check with your state as rules vary from state to state.)
  • Physical Environment – During a court sentencing, you will be facing the judge with the defendant behind you or to the right or left of you as you make your presentation.  Your statement is part of the official court record, or hearing.
  • Restitution and Compensation (From the National Center for Victims of Crime) Increasing the likelihood that restitution will be ordered:  Victims can do two things to increase the likelihood that restitution will be ordered in their case: gather information about their financial loss, and request that restitution be ordered.  To increase the chances that restitution will be ordered, victims should make sure their victim impact statement includes a summary of the out-of-pocket expenses resulting from the crime
  • The difference between restitution and compensation: While restitution is court-ordered payment from a convicted offender, crime victim compensation is a state government program that pays many of the out-of-pocket expenses of victims of violent crime even when there is no arrest or prosecution. Ordinarily, to be eligible for compensation the victim is required to report the offense within a certain amount of time, cooperate in the investigation and prosecution, and file an application within a set time. The expenses covered by compensation vary and are usually set by state law. All compensation programs cover medical expenses, most cover counseling, and very few cover any property loss.
  • In comparison, restitution can only be ordered in cases where someone has been convicted. However, restitution can be ordered in almost any case (although courts may be required to order it only for certain offenses), and can be ordered for a wider variety of losses, including property loss. A victim cannot collect both compensation and restitution for the same losses.
  • Technology- Videoconferencing is a concept that has existed since 1996. The clear leader in this area appears to be the State of Michigan. They began in 2004 with the Department of Corrections bringing the total of videoconferencing sites to 64, including five “telemed” sites. Imagine never having to leave prison grounds for prisoner –immigration hearings, dietician and mental health appointments! This is an up and coming industry of vast proportions.  MDs  can even use electronic stethoscopes to listen to heart and lungs and view x-rays instantly! Viola! This is all in the name of reducing costs and increasing efficiency!
  • Is there a line in the sand that needs to be drawn to say that victims of crime also need these innovative heath care services, particularly the elderly after having suffered their tremendous losses? Indeed!
  • “Intangibles”- meaning loss of productivity, medical care, mental health, use of public safety services, property loss, “tangible losses”, “quality of life” loss .  The problem is, the data available is so old – from the National Institute of Justice – January 1996, and can only be used as a general reference. Basically, 19 years ago…
  • Estimates of monetary values, including lost wages were in the range of $500,000 to $7 million;

What is Pain and Suffering and Quality of life really worth?

  • In 1996, violent crime was 3% of all medical spending and 14% of injury related spending and 10-20% of mental health expenditures in the U.S.
  • At that time, losses per incident of criminal victimization (including attempts) looked like this for fatal crimes including rape and murder-
  • Loss of productivity- $1,000,000;
  • Medical Care /Ambulance- $16,300;
  • Social-Victim Services- 0
  • Mental Health – $4,800;
  • Police & Fire Services – $1,300;
  • Property Loss/Damage – $120.00
  • Murder “Tangible Losses (Subtotal) “$1,030.000
  • “Intangible Quality of Life Losses” $1,910.00;
  • Total = $2,940.000

(Reference for above from:

Victim Impact Statement Assistance Service


One can assume that for today’s standards, the current cost of living and the escalation of spree and mass murder, these figures may be triple or more per incident. (In my humble opinion)

I do not put much faith in numbers, for they can always be manipulated to serve ones’ point of view, human error is rampant and they do not tell the whole story. I believe that an investment in people and their true life stories illuminate our understanding and pave the way for change far better than what a calculator reveals.

In some cases, the surviving victims may be too emotionally distraught, or may not have the ability to correctly express their feelings. A professional who has experience as a victim of crime, as well as assisting others through trials, can help you put your thoughts into a professionally written statement, and coach you on your delivery in court.

If you are anticipating the task of victim impact statement writing with trepidation, perhaps I can assist.



To schedule a presentation with me at your future event or  conference please contact:

ImaginePublicity,  Telephone: 843.808.0859  Email:


Strange Encounters of the Murderous Kind


This is a true story of a personal encounter that happened recently. It was one of those strong life coincidences that occurs when you least expect it. Whether it was fate, a communication from heaven or something else, I do not know.

On a recent drizzly Sunday afternoon trying to do my due diligence paying bills a kindly looking gentleman approached me after viewing my car advertisement for my radio show.

As I explained about the show and gave a brief explanation of my Dad’s murder, the man, volunteered that he went to high school with a man by the name of PH. To my shock it was he who said the name, not me, – the same name as the murderer of my father!  (How could this be?) I was truly shocked. I gave no details at that point in time, but yet this man seems to know a great deal about the background of the perpetrator.

The man stated that PH was “a bad seed,” always getting into trouble at a youth.  (In fact I believe he was about only 21 years old or so when he was convicted of my father’s murder.)  His high school peer knew PH would end up in serious trouble.   In fact, he related that PH was one of three brothers – Perry, Harry and Larry…. or something like that. Seriously, they all rhymed!  My mind raced and ironically could only think of Moe, Curly, and Larry of the Three Stooges. But this indeed was no laughing matter!

Apparently at a very young age, running the streets of Hartford, PH was always looking for partner in crime, frequently approaching him saying, “Let’s rob a bank.”    This man was in no way a would-be criminal, but a was a member of the national honor society and was on the path to start a career in the insurance business.

He made it clear that he wanted no part of THAT world. Mr. S. was familiar with the murder of a second man “the perp” committed, after he killed my father. (The second man was an accomplice in a bank robbery who could identify PH, whose body he dumped in a cemetery.) However, “my informant”  was unaware of my Dad’s killing.  He said, in all sincerity, ,”Ya’know, the word on the street is that PH killed other people, he just got caught for these.” I definitely believed that statement from the way PH acted at the parole hearing.   Mr. S. asked for a current status report and was about to offer more “tales of yesteryear on the streets of Hartford,” when I stopped him and told him I didn’t want to hear anymore.   He understood my feelings.

My informant did say that he lost a cousin to murder at the West Indian Club in Hartford a couple of years ago as well. I told him he was welcome to check out my website.  Then a strange feeling came over me after hearing all of this information.

This man had no reason to lie to me. He appeared to know details about the perp and it certainly sounded believable to me. But then, I am a trusting person at heart, despite homicide. We exchanged business cards.

I couldn’t help but think as he drove away, if I had not chosen to do this mundane errand on this day, at this exact time, I never would have known this additional information about “the perp” after 34 years!  Life can be very strange indeed.  But there must have been a reason… only time will tell!

“31 Candles”

  Donna R. Gore,LadyJustice

by Don Gore (dgdraws) (from Flickr, not the original Don Gore of this story)

If Ladyjustice was to go to the bakery and order a cake, she would request 31 candles, placed strategically in the icing in the middle and around the perimeter. However, can you imagine ordering a “death anniversary cake”?  No…  Therefore, this blog …and the advocacy work LJ is committed to will have to suffice.  April 17, 1981 seems like yesterday …and a lifetime ago all in the same breath! (The day Ladyjustice’s father was murdered).

Donna R. Gore, LadyJusticeHow does one portray 31 years of life without a parent?  Well, it isn’t easy.  But, LJ did have her father during the “formative growing up years,” often times while she was staring up at the stainless steel décor and felt the  distinct chill of many hospital  operating rooms…. for yet another surgery.  He was there for all of “that trauma,” part of this writer’s routine.

When Ladyjustice chose the wheat fields of Kansas State University for graduate school, she recalls her father carrying her across the tarmac to return to school after having foot surgery (as the “connector thingamajigs” were not yet used at her world class airport).

And… those milestones that people talk about like marriage, birth of a child; grandchildren have escaped Ladyjustice partly by life circumstance and partly by personal design.  LJ is mostly content as a single person these days…  She tries like hell to keep her upbeat attitude.  And besides… a female is seldom left behind to “carry on the family name.”  (This writer believes that you’ve already heard the story of the “two Donna Gores” in the same nuclear family – one “original” and one sister-in-law.  Hence, the use of the middle initial “R” for Ladyjustice.)

This writer has come such a long way in yet another year since the 30th anniversary!  There’s been so much to write about, so many new ideas forged, new rewards and opportunities given!

Ladyjustice has but two people to thank (in addition to her) for such achievements…  A million blessings and a heart filled with gratitude is sent to Delilah Jones and Susan Murphy Milano who ALWAYS believe in Ladyjustice!  They have helped to shape another glorious year for this writer!  Her father would like you both… and he would thank you!

To read the special 30th anniversary tribute to Donald W. Gore, please CLICK HERE

“The Eldest Daughter”




Helping the Melanie Ilene Rieger Memorial Conference to Soar

As we all are aware, politicians like to refer to our present state of affairs nationally as “an economic downturn.”  However, those of us in the northeast know better… It can more accurately be described as “flat lined” or “nearly brain dead” (through no fault of consumers.  We in the northeast have the reputation of being so highly taxed, unfriendly to small business and heaping with layers upon layers of government, that… the average Joe/Joanne doesn’t know when we will ever see the dawning of a new day!

Given these conditions, we see fallout, and cutbacks galore – to important organizations we care about up and down the food chain.  One such organization near and dear to out hearts in Connecticut is the Melanie Ilene Rieger Memorial Conference against Violence.

After 15 years of excellent service as a one of a kind conference serving to educate service providers and other victims of violent crime, the hammers of the federal and state government have struck. 

This year, a DOJ grant providing scholarships for attendance and speaker travel expenses could not provide sufficient funding based on a technicality of the calendar….   In addition, food costs for the two day conference will no longer be furnished by the Feds.  Others expenses picked up by state agencies can no longer do so due to funding cuts.

Therefore, my good friends and neighbors, Ladyjustice is asking that you see the value in this wonderful organization and Wanda and Sam’s efforts to carry out the legacy of their daughter, Melanie (a victim of intimate partner violence).   Please donate as much as you can…and be sure to register for the upcoming 2012 Conference.  All donations are tax deductible, Donations may be sent to:

The Melanie Ilene Rieger Memorial Foundation     

P.O. Box 368  

Watertown, CT 06795

Please refer to their website for future conference details at:

And now… to recap some of the highlights of the 2011 conference from Ladyjustice’s perspective, see my former blog at: