Victim impact statements
A victim impact statement is a written statement from a victim that describes the physical or emotional harm, property damage or economic loss which the victim of an offence has suffered. The Court must take the statement into account when an offender is sentenced.
The victim impact statement gives victims of crime a voice in the criminal justice system. It allows victims to take part in the sentencing of the offender by explaining to the Court and the offender, in their own words, how the crime has affected them.
Who can prepare a victim impact statement?
Any person who has suffered physically or emotionally, or who has had their property damaged or lost money, as a result of an offence committed against them or another person may prepare a victim impact statement. This Criminal Code definition of "victim" also recognizes that a person who is affected by a crime committed against another person, such as a family member or loved one, is also a victim.
A victim impact statement can also be prepared by:
- the survivors of deceased victims;
- the parent or guardian of a child victim; or
- a spouse, common-law partner, dependant or relative of a victim who is not capable of making a statement.
Presenting a victim impact statement
If the victim decides to write a victim impact statement, he or she can present the statement at the sentencing hearing by:
- reading it aloud in the courtroom;
- reading it aloud in the courtroom with a support person nearby;
- reading it outside the courtroom or behind a screen or other device so that the victim cannot see the offender; or
- presenting it in any other way the Court thinks is suitable.
The victim must prepare his or her victim impact statement on the standard victim impact statement form. All provinces and territories use this form. The form (FORM 34.2 VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENT) gives examples of information that the victim can include in his or her statement. Victim services can help the victim to obtain a form and provide more information about victim impact statements.
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