An Oral History of the Crime Victim Assistance Field
Video and Audio Archive

Collene & Gary Campbell
Biography & Interview Summary

Picture from Collene & Gary Campbell
Interviewees:Collene & Gary Campbell;
San Juan Capistrano, CA
Date of Interview:February 24, 2003
Location:Sacramento, CA

Collene & Gary Campbell


Collene and Gary Campbell are the Founders of Memory of Victims Everywhere (MOVE). They have been ardent victim advocates since the murder of their son Scott, and the murders of Collene's brother Mickey Thompson and his wife Trudy.

Initial Involvement in the Crime Victims' Movement

Collene and Gary Campbell became involved in the crime victims' movement after the murder of their only son, Scott, and later the murder of Collene's brother, Nicky Thompson, and his wife, Trudy. For the past 21 years the couple have been enmeshed in the criminal justice system. Collene Campbell remembers:

"In 1982 when our only son was strangled and thrown out of an airplane, we spent eleven months trying to figure out what happened to him. During that period of time, I started to get a feeling that something wasn't right. And this went on for quite a long time."

Their personal experiences have led them to try to enact change and criminal justice reforms to benefit victims of violent crime.

Interview Summary

Greatest Challenges

Campbell believes that maintaining courage has been one of her greatest challenges. She shares that victims often times "sit back and wait" for those in the system to walk them through it, and it takes courage to bypass those with more knowledge and acquire that knowledge for oneself.

Continuing the Field's Growth and Professionalism

Campbell feels that there needs to be better training available to professionals working with crime victims. She believes that such training would need to stress the victim's point of view.

Campbell would advise anyone who wanted to help victims to "put themselves in victims' shoes." She would aslo share three choices with someone who had recently lost a family member to violence - to contemplate suicide, to "sit around and cry for the rest of their lives," or to "work on the tomorrows." She really encourages victims to work hard at saving their families and changing the system.


Although Campbell believes that the victim assistance field has accomplished some remarkable achievements, there is still must work to be done. In particular, she points to the need for the prosecutor to have better information from the investigators about the victims.

Greatest Accomplishment

She believes that the victim assistance field's greatest successes have stemmed from the fact that "victims have started to pick up some strength."

Vision for the Future

Campbell would like training to improve in the future. She would also like "the victim blaming midset" of those both inside and outside the system to change.

Greatest Fear

Campbell shares,

"My greatest fear is if I'm gonna' die before I can help. My greatest fear is not to get victims to have the same rights as the criminals, to continue on at the way we're going. The Constitution was not set out to give killers more rights than the victim and family members."

Campbell's other fear is that other families will continue to have to endure the pain that her family has faced.