Victims of crime have the right to participate and to be heard in the criminal justice system through the use of Victim Impact Statements. A Victim Impact Statement provides the victim with an opportunity to address the court prior to sentencing.
This opportunity allows victims to personalize the crime and express the impact it has had on them and their families. This process may also help victims in their emotional recovery.
There is no obligation to submit a Victim Impact Statement – it is your choice. It can be either a written or oral statement given to the Judge at the time of sentencing. A copy of your statement may be given to the defense attorney and the defendant may also read it.
Typically, a Victim Impact Statement will contain the following:
The physical, financial, psychological or emotional impact of the crime.
Medical treatment, ongoing medical problems as a result of the crime
Financial burden of medical treatment, counseling, loss of work, replacing stolen or damaged items
Emotional struggles due to fears, loss of a loved one, relocation, ability to relate to others, changes in relationships, etc.
The harm done to family
Changes in family relationships or roles
The need for restitution
The victim’s feelings about an appropriate sentence for the offender
If you need further assistance in preparing a Victim Impact Statement, you may download a copy of the Victim Impact Questionnaire. If you would like assistance or have questions about writing an Impact Statement, please contact the Victim /Witness Coordinator at (570) 253-4912.