The birth of SVS Impacts & Prevention Analytics – Statement Creation Tool
We have developed a purpose-designed question bank and an ongoing learning process to identify trends. We know from experience that whilst every case is different, it’s not as different as we would like to believe.
I noticed that for the volume of murder in South Africa for instance that when reading most articles, very little changes other than the names of the victims, accused, investigating officers, and the location of the murder. I started to note what people were saying to me, or in gatherings. The result of this has fascinated me because 60 million people are becoming more and more disconnected or desensitised to murder, seeing it as simply “part of our lives”, the norm. I was seeing the same thing in every media release. 60 million “it won’t happen to me” subconscious inaction as our South African people continue day by day, doing the same thing over and over.
I started to ask myself why a nation would not rise to 24 000 murders as a priority one headline to solve and hear the cries from these families. My own words to so many family members are that you now have an unwanted degree and baptism in murder, what you will now notice the most about your life is the feeling that no one cares, even your friends will move on, but you will see, hear, and feel life very differently.
Therein lies the answer! The families and the victims had no voice, and key to this, not just at the point of incident, but also around the impacts following the incident..
We simply move from one case to the next and discuss the incident. I have mistakenly said to families, “I can’t believe your case was 10 murders ago already, or no. 45 this year. We do not connect with the journey of the families, and I would say less than 5 friends go on the journey with them. Unfortunately, not the victim’s families nor their friends have a textbook or a toolbox on how to help themselves or their loved ones through dealing with a murder. South Africans and their technology connect with the incident through the media, which can even be interpreted as sensationalism as this happens to make the story different to “yesterdays”.
We also know that as humans we have a finite edge, and so after my 19 years of building this platform and my passion, purpose, and policing work, I know that the vibration, frequency and the impacts of these crimes are far more reaching than ever before due to our worldwide connectivity to one another.
Naturally, we are not changing as humans, what is changing is technology. An example of this is how the black lives matter movement started with a murder in the USA, but through technology, it was a force multiple of the human connection like we have never seen before. So why did this murder become a spotlight versus others? Why are some cases thrust forward, while others fade away? It simply comes down, not to race, culture or beliefs, but rather to how the story is told. In the George Floyd murder, the world watched him die, no judge or jury was necessary, that happened by the world watching pulse point for pulse point, word for word, breath for breath, as George told his own story, “I can’t breathe..”, and it won’t be forgotten any time soon.
We have received incredible insights from working on the murder of Jackie Chatterton with her husband James, and children Jodie and Spike. Then, the interrelated learnings that were being faced by Samantha van de Velde, whose husband JJ’s life was taken in a tragic impaired driving accident. These two cases took us on a path determined to build out a better process for Victim Impact Statements, Analytics, and a “Statement Creation Tool” to help victims make their statements for court and the public in order to match their journey and the SVS Timeline.
In JJ’s culpable homicide case, we found the country that fights this type of crime the most adequately is Canada, as it is their number one concern. Seemly, Canada is the world leader with best practices, technology and processes in this regard.
I looked at culpable homicide case after case, with the most tragic being a young 22 year old who had his driver’s licence suspended for drinking. He then continued to drive, but this time he was smoking weed and ended up killing three people, one victim lost his leg, and another was critically injured and at death’s door. He hit a vehicle which in turn rolled into others. Unlike South Africa, he was jailed for life, and the Canadian Victim Statement Process and Ambassador program took centre stage for both the accused and victims.
265 Victims – Sexual Abuse as “Medical Treatment”
I further spent weeks going through the victim impacts of the world-famous case of Lawrence Gerard Nassar (born August 16, 1963). An American convicted sex offender. For eighteen years, he was the team doctor for the United States women’s national gymnastics team, giving him access to hundreds of girls and young women, many of whom he sexually abused. He is also a former osteopathic physician and former professor at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. He was highly trusted by so many, yet those he took trust from could not fight back.
Nassar’s sexual abuse of young athletes and the subsequent cover-up ultimately led to the USA Gymnastics sex abuse scandal that began in 2015, alleging that Nassar repeatedly sexually assaulted at least 265 young women and girls under the guise of “medical treatment.” His victims included numerous Olympians and the United States women’s national gymnastics team gymnasts.
The Judge ordered that every victim and their parents have the opportunity to face Nassar with their Victim impact Statements of which over 100 young ladies participated and these women took back their dignity. Nassar tried his best to put a stop to this process, but it was denied and broadcast to the world.
The sheer volume of his crimes, the impacts and the learnings for the world cannot be summed up in words, especially for me and my team, whom I am so blessed to have to surround me, bringing to life the different components of our humanity platform and being in awe of the most gifted people for this purpose.
You cannot believe what this guy did to his victims and, worse still, how parents were made to think that their children were liars. All parents turned on their children, which meant that the abuse continued, and they had to accept sexual abuse as “medical treatment” and that it was part of the deal to become an olympian for the world, for each of us to look on in awe at our humanity and human ability. As I write this, I stop, because the price for this achievement cannot be measured. It is a measurement of the strength of these souls which exceeds human comprehension and the boundaries of time. It is this price paid that is in part infused into our humanity platform now.
In one case, an only child and adopted young girl joined the team, she went on to become an Olympic gold medalist. Once this dream was achieved, she committed suicide, and the letter that she left behind was read out by her mom. Her mother took the stand, and her impacts are now captured in the SVS tool to help others. I can tell you that my eyes streamed many tears as I went on this journey, as it does for our 65 farm murders and counting on the SVS platform.
I have held my little boy, twin girls and wife so tight on many days as I have had no more energy and soul to continue at the Brian’s Passionate Desk. We must never forget what our victims have to endure and this is beyond words and understanding. This is what became my whiteboard headline.
How do we take what can’t be placed in words or understanding and achieve this? Something that James and Jodi Chatterton summed up for me, “Brian, murder is like throwing rocks on a windscreen so that every inch of the glass is smashed. It can’t be replaced, yet we have to drive on as if nothing has happened.”
At this point, Canadian Police, these cases, and these victims will never understand or know how much they have helped, as I took their pain, their every sentence, and that of Samantha, Grace, James, Jodi and Spike, and I created the first-ever database of questions to help other victims make their statements.
Further to this, we created the tools around the victim’s timeline journey.
SVS Victims Impacts & Analytics
Stage 1 Victim – Immediate Impacts & Legacy Statement (Period 0 to 90 days)
Stage 2 Victim – Arrest Impacts
Stage 3 Victim – Bail Application & Trial Impacts
Stage 4 Victim – Conviction Impacts
Victim – Impact Statement (Court Summary & Forecast of Stage 5 & 6)
Stage 5 Victim – Parole Impacts
Stage 6 Victim – Re-integration Impacts
Stage 7 Victim – Summary Impacts & Analytics of Stage 1 to 6
Samantha is the first victim to use this tool, and her statement is now complete, soon to be published for the first time.
To Lynette Lombaard, Creative and Communications Director, a particular word of heart and soul thanks for your work on this, and most significantly for the days that you just listened and guided my heart, soul, and brain to do what it does best for our nation. To bring light to the world, we must understand the darkest of the dark.
To Samantha, Grace, James, Jodi and Spike, your work and support to create this tool is now being used to help the family of John Viedge. Look out for the SVS publishing of this case, and you will see with your help what we are now able to do to help others.
I believe that we are starting to solve the bigger problem, not only for South Africa but for the world.
- By creating a platform connecting the crime journey, primarily with the investigating officers, victims, and the accused.
- To always find the finite edge of case types, their processes, and resources which is growing due to the human connectivity through network technology and lives beyond mere individual police services..
- To create a road map and forecast the journey with the micromanagemental tasks, processes, victim impacts for all role-players and stakeholders to understand and act beyond the incident.
- To create a platform for the world to take the most tragic of situations, making sure to learn anything new or noteworthy changes from each case in real-time.
- We ensure that each case type covers all connections directly and indirectly, for the ever-growing community and police ecosystem.
- Crucially, to create, update, and maintain customised solutions for prevention policing per case type and the interrelated learnings from these as well as from cases around the rest of the world..
You see, what we must never forget is that crime has no boundaries, no country or president. Solving crimes, and keeping the memory of victims alive, ensuring justice is served and so on, can be dramatically aided by human connectivity, and now, with the web, our network has the potential of being multiplied tenfold. . As of January 2021, there were 4.66 billion active internet users worldwide – 59.5% of the global population. Of this total, 92.6% (4.32 billion) accessed the internet via mobile devices in the palm of their hands – potentially and almost unknowingly participating in human victim support.
In love, light, dreams and tunnel-vision passion!
Brian Jones (SA7)
Brian’s Passionate Desk
082 884 8024
Together SA CAN (NPO)
TrackBox Technologies (Pty) Ltd