Victim Impact Statement
What is a Victim Impact Statement?
As a victim of crime, you have the right to use a Victim Impact Statement to express, in writing, how this crime has impacted you and others close to you. This statement allows for you to write about the physical, emotional and financial effects of this crime, as well as any other major changes in your life you have experienced as a result of the crime(s).
This is your one chance to tell the judge how you feel in your own words. You may use the Victim Impact Statement Form or write it in essay/letter form. Filling out a Victim Impact Statement is completely voluntary and it must be submitted at the request of the court.
How is it Used?
A Victim Impact Statement is a tool, used in sentencing, that gives the victim a voice. After a defendant is convicted, the court may order a presentence report be prepared by a probation and parole officer to assist the judge in determining a proper sentence. This report focuses on the crime, the defendant’s background, and any criminal history. The Victim Impact Statement will be included as a part of the presentence report.
If you choose to submit a Victim Impact Statement, it will become an official court document and will be a part of the defendant’s permanent file. Your statement will be read by the Judge, prosecutor, probation officer and defense attorney. They may even be able to ask you questions about your statement in court. The defendant will also be able to read what you have written. No contact information is included in the preparation of a Victim Impact Statement.
No one knows better than you do how this crime may have changed your life. Those of us involved in your case believe it is very important for you to help the court understand all the ways this crime has affected you and those close to you. Thank you for taking the time to provide us with this information.
Victim Impact Statement Tips
- Determine if you qualify as the “victim” in the case before writing a statement.
- Use additional paper if necessary
- Write or type clearly & concisely
- Make statement readable in about 5 minutes.
- Discuss characteristics of the life of the victim BEFORE the crime. List specific examples.
- Discuss feelings DURING the crime
- Discuss characteristics of the life of the victim AFTER the crime. List specific examples.
- Write your statement as “awful” as it really is (don’t be bashful)
- As difficult as it may be, please use the word associated with the crime. For example, if you are raped, use this word. Do not minimize what happened by merely describing the offense as an “assault”. If someone dear to you was murdered, use this word. Do not minimize what happened by describing the offense as a “death”.
- Repeat evidence already presented.
- Bad mouth the defendant or defense attorney.
- Discuss new evidence not presented at trial.
- Tell the judge how much time you think the defendant should get.
A “VICTIM” IS
An individual who has suffered physical, psychological or economic harm as a direct result of a felony or of assault and battery, stalking, sexual battery, attempted sexual battery or driving while intoxicated;
A parent or legal guardian of such person who is a minor
A spouse, child , parent or legal guardian of such person who is physically or mentally incapacitated or was a victim of a suicide.
*A victim does not mean a parent, child, spouse or legal guardian who commits a felony or other enumerated criminal offense against a victim