Victim impact statements provide the victim the opportunity to tell the judge about the impact of the crime. At the sentencing or juvenile dispositional proceeding, victims may share the personal and financial toll the crime has taken on them and provide input on the offender’s sentence or the case disposition.
A victim can be the individual who suffered loss or harm as a result of a crime, the family members, guardians, or the custodian of a minor, incapacitated, or deceased person. Communities also have the right to present an oral or written statement when they have been affected by a crime.
A victim impact statement can include:
A summary of the physical and psychological harm or trauma the victim suffered as a result of the crime and any needed medical/dental interventions, whether one-time or ongoing;
A summary of the financial loss or damages the victim suffered as a result of the crime, including lost wages or ability to work, and a request for restitution for any out-of-pocket expenses;
The victim’s reactions or objections to the proposed sentence or juvenile disposition, including jail/prison time, work release privileges, community service options, treatment programs, and/or conditions of probation;
A statement of what outcome the victim would like and why;
Highlights about the victim, including past accomplishments, hopes for the future, and how the crime has impacted these activities;
Changes in lifestyle, such as ability to work, drive, or forced relocation;
The effect of sudden death on family members, such as loss of hopes, dreams, love, companionship, and financial security;
The overall effect the incident has had on the victim and his/her family.
The statement should not include profanity or threats to the offender or court personnel. The victim impact statement can take the form of a letter or a typed or handwritten statement. The prosecutor’s office will typically send out a victim impact statement form at the start of the case.