Victims of crime have the right to make a Victim Impact Statement (VIS) in which they tell the court how the crime has affected them and their families. This statement is optional.
A Victim Impact Statement (VIS) can be written, or you may choose to speak directly to the court at the Sentencing Hearing. A VIS provides the victim an opportunity to express their feelings about the crime while also providing the court with essential information. A written VIS should be provided to the Victim Assistant prior to the sentencing hearing. Be sure to let the Victim Assistance Program know you are interested in making a VIS by selecting “Victim Impact Statement” on the Victim Notification Form.
Consider the following when writing or speaking to the court:
Emotional Impact – Consider how the crime has affected your lifestyle or those close to you. Feel free to discuss your feelings about what happened and how it has affected your general well-being. Has this crime affected your relationship with any family members, friends, co-workers, and other people?
Physical Impact – What physical injuries or symptoms have you or others close to you suffered as a result of this crime?
Financial Impact – Has this crime affected your ability to work, make a living, run a household, go to school or enjoy any other activities you previously performed or enjoyed? Have you had out-of-pocket expenses for medical or dental bills? Have you had property loss or damages due to this crime?
Would you like to have a No Contact Order with the defendant?
Would you like to request that the defendant pay full or partial restitution?
(For more information about restitution and requesting restitution, click here.)
Tips to Remember
- Be sure to let the Victim Assistance Program know that you would like to make a Victim Impact Statement. Use the Victim Notification form, or contact the Victim Assistance Program.
- Prepare early to avoid the stress of last minute writing.
- Focus on what the crime means to you physically, emotionally, financially and spiritually.
- Write and speak from the heart.
- The statement should take no longer than 5 to 10 minutes to read.
- A legible, hand-written statement is acceptable.
- If you have specific feelings or recommendations for the sentence, you may share them with the Judge at this time.
You may contact the Victim Assistance Program for help with preparing your statement.