A Victim Impact Statement is a way of making offenders aware of the harm they have caused. A Victim Impact Statement can be written or oral. It gives the victim an opportunity to provide information for the judge to consider at sentencing, and allows the victim to express the pain, anguish, and financial devastation the crime has caused. A Victim Impact Statement provides the court with information which leads to appropriate sentences and restitution.
Presenting the Statement
According to the law, the victim determines how the statement will be presented at the sentencing or disposition hearing. They may choose to:
Present the statement in written form;
Present the statement orally to the court; or
Request the prosecuting attorney or victim coordinator to orally present the statement.
What Can Be Included in the Statement?
The following are items to consider including in your Victim Impact Statement:
A summary of the harm or trauma suffered by the victim as a result of the crime.
A summary of the financial loss or damage suffered by the victim as a result of the crime.
The victim's reactions or objections to the proposed sentence, including addressing jail, prison, work release privileges, and community service.
A short statement of what outcome the victim would like and their reasons, including support for or opposition to, treatment or community service programs.
Highlights about the victim, their past accomplishments, hopes for the future and what the crime has done to these activities.
Changes in the victim's lifestyle, such as ability to work, drive, or forced relocation.
The overall effect the crime has had on the victim and the victim's family without repeating facts already presented.