Parallel Justice is a victim-centered approach to crime and harm that works parallel to (but independent from) the criminal legal system. We provide information, resources, and support to people who have experienced crime and harm in Burlington.
Programs & Initiatives
Do’s and Don’ts for Supporting Victims/Survivors of Crime or Harm
· Say "I’m sorry for what happened."
· Emphasize to victims/survivors that "It’s not your fault."
· Be willing to listen to the victim/survivor share their experience if they want to talk about the crime and its effects, and validate that experience with empathy and support.
· Let the victim/survivor know that their feelings of anger, distress, frustration, fear, etc. are not uncommon and perfectly justifiable.
· Understand that many victims/survivors will have extreme difficulty reconstructing their lives after a crime and that some may never fully recover from the experience.
· Educate yourself about the possible range of victim/survivor reactions and available victim/survivor services in the community so you can provide short- and long-term appropriate, sensitive support.
· Be judgmental or blame the victim/survivor for the crime that was committed against them. The only person/people at fault for the crime are the person/people who committed it. The crime is NEVER the victim’s/survivor’s fault.
· Second-guess how the victim/survivor reacted to the crime.
· Say "I understand", because it is impossible to truly understand either the crime or its impact on the victim’s/survivor’s physical or mental health.
· Try to compare the victim’s/survivor’s experience to any similar experience, including your own. Each victim/survivor has their own reaction to crime and harm, and there is no “right” way to respond.
· Try to be make decisions and choices for a victim/survivor. Crime is a violation of one’s voice, choice, and control over one’s life. Since no victim/survivor chooses to be victimized or has control over crime or harm committed against them, it is vital that victims/survivors are able to regain control and make their own decisions that affect their lives.