To Serve the Victims of All of These Crimes.

The final part of the MADD mission is the heart of MADD and what we do. Because people are the reason we continue to fight against drunk driving, drugged driving, and underage drinking. Each and every person impacted is important to us and it is a vital part of our mission to be there to help them. MADD Victim Services is often the part of our mission people don’t realize we do and we think it is time to change that.

MADD Victim Services are here to help anyone who has been impacted by impaired driving. We know that any crash involving an impaired driver is life-changing and that is why MADD is here ready to help. We also know that victimization looks different for everyone. Some may experience the loss of property or a crash that only results in damage. Others will be injured or have a loved one injured. And others yes experience the unthinkable death of a loved one at the hands of an impaired driver. Victim advocates are here to help with each and every situation.

So how can MADD help? MADD Victim Advocates can work with victims in many different ways. The one thing that is always consistent, no matter how you were impacted, is an advocate is here to listen. Yes, just listen. Because sometimes that is just what you need. Someone who understands listening. We know the struggle and stress victims go through after property is destroyed and we are willing to listen to what you are going through. We know that long after the funeral when others are moving on, you still want to talk about your loved one who was killed. We know that the day to day of recovering from an injury is difficult and sometimes you just need to be angry and talk to someone about it. Victim advocates are here to just listen. Advocates also work as connectors, knowing when to refer to a counselor or therapist, knowing when a person is ready to be connected with someone else in a similar situation, even trying to find community resources or support groups.

Another large part of the support an advocate can give is court accompaniment and victim impact statement assistance. The court process is complicated and most people don’t have much experience in it before they are thrown in after a crash. MADD is here to help walk families through the process and help to make sure their voice is heard. Advocates work closely with state victim advocates and county attorneys to make sure victims are given as much information as possible throughout the process. They also work to help ensure families write victim impact statements, these statements make a huge impact during the sentencing part of the court process and are the one chance the court has to hear from those victimized by the crime of impaired driving.

Advocates are here and ready to help at any point. Because we know that grief doesn’t end, we know that crashes have long-term impacts and we know that sometimes years down the road is when you are finally ready to make that call to MADD. We are here, day 1 to day 1 million and 1. Advocacy is the reason behind the rest of our mission. We want impaired driving to end, because we want a future with no more victims. Why? Because we know the devastation, because we have walked with families in every part of their journey, because we have seen the true impact and we know that if everyone saw what we saw they would be fighting with us.

So how can you make a difference in this part of the MADD mission?  There are a few different ways. One, you can become a volunteer victim advocate or peer-to-peer supporter. Both roles work to help families after a crash. Peer-to-Peer support is victim to victim, so if you have been impacted and want to help someone else, this is a great way. Second, you can help connect us with referral partners. Know a great civil attorney, love your therapist, attend a support group that has helped your grief process….send us their information so we can reach out and add them to our lists. Last, you can help connect us with those who need us the most. If you know of anyone impacted by impaired driving in any way, let them know MADD is here and help us become less of a secret and able to help more people.