|B. Group Format and Structure|
Each group has an identified goal, tools used during the group, handouts and assignments. It is important to review the group goal to determine the direction of the group and to assess how well the goal was attained. These group materials are linked to each group session as individual PDF documents.
Tools are items needed for the group, such as paper and chalk. Readings, such as the group description and serenity prayer are also considered group tools. Group tools included with the module are marked with a capital "T" and a number, such as T-1 and can be copied on light blue paper.
The handouts should be photocopied before the group begins to ensure enough copies for all group members. It is suggested that handouts be collected at the end of the group unless they will be used for assignments. This will help to avoid the constant reproduction of handouts that are used in multiple groups. Handouts are marked with a capital "H" and a number, such as H-1.
Assignments are typically short and simple. More detailed assignments which expand on the group goal and lesson can be suggested by the facilitator. When expanding on the suggested assignments, it is important to write down and remember what was assigned since clients will lose interest in completing assignments if they are not held accountable for them. Since some clients will not do the assignments, the facilitator will need to decide how to handle incomplete work in advance. Clients should also be informed what the consequences of incomplete assignments will be in advance of the assignment. NEVER CREATE A CONSEQUENCE THAT WILL NOT BE FOLLOWED THROUGH WITH ACTION. Clients will begin to develop respect for the facilitator as promises are made and kept, but remember, respecting does not always mean liking. The goal is thinking change not rapport.
As stated previously, this module was designed for use in community based programs with open-ended groups. Participants can begin the victim awareness group process at different points during the module. It is suggested that a shortened version of 'Group 1' be conducted whenever a new member arrives. That is, after the group description is read, the group should be asked what is important or useful about having a victim awareness group. One group member could also describe how a ripple effect works by writing a short version of one of his/her own crimes or drug usage's on the board in front of the group.
One of the group components is the preparation and presentation of a “Victim Script.” Group 4 describes the process in detail, but members should not prepare a Victim Script until they have completed the entire series of groups in this module. By that time they will be better able to identify their victims and begin to accept the harm they have caused others. When clients begin presenting their Victim Scripts, group 4 "Victim Script Presentation" can be substituted for the group that was scheduled to be next. The module was designed to be continuous and ongoing. A group member can begin during any of the groups since the information presented will be ongoing and cyclical.
The following page is a guideline for the facilitator and/or co-facilitator to achieve the most benefit and learning in conducting these groups.
Good luck and hard work in your journey towards facilitating positive change in the lives of those you serve.
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The complete Victim Awareness Module is available in PDF format for a fee.