Victim Impact Statement
The court will review a Victim Impact Statement after conviction and before sentencing. A Victim Impact Statement is completed by the victim and is a summary that explains the suffering the crime has caused, how the crime has impacted their lives, and expresses their opinion on the punishment.
A statement should include the following issues:
- Emotional impact of the crime
- Medical impact of the crime
- Financial impact of the crime
- Effect of the absence of the victim from your life, if the victim is deceased
- Day-to-day issues which you must face as a result of the crime
- Lifelong consequences of the crime
Most Victim Assistance Coordinators provide Victim Impact Statement forms to help you with addressing the above issues. The forms are usually given to the victim before trial. Be sure to complete your form and submit it to the District Attorney or the Victim Assistance Coordinator. If you need assistance or a form, call your Victim Assistance Coordinator.
Victim Impact Statements provide victims with the opportunity to discuss the physical, emotional and financial effects the crime has had on them and their families. It is also an important tool to help the courts and corrections officials in making decisions about sentencing and release.
The Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights allows the victim to provide a Victim Impact Statement at different times throughout the criminal justice process and to different offices. You can provide a statement to the court when the defendant enters a guilty plea, at sentencing, or at restitution proceedings; to the probation officer for their use in preparing a pre-sentence report; and the Department of Corrections for their use in consideration of the prisoner’s community status, release, parole or pardon.
The law also allows you to present the impact statement in different ways, such as written, oral, audio recording or video recording. The way in which you can present your statement is determined by the court or office to which you submit the statement. Be sure to find out from the court or office which way you are allowed to present the statement to them.
HELPFUL HINTS FOR COMPLETING YOUR VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENT
- The length of your statement is important. A statement is not more effective simply because it is long.
- Be brief and to the point, but not so short that you leave out important information.
- Keep in mind that a Victim Impact Statement is not an opportunity to criticize the legal system, the court or the defendant.
- Oral, audio or video statements are more effective if they are no more than ten minutes.
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