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Victim impact statement

The purpose of a victim impact statement is to inform the magistrate/judge of the impact the crime has had on you and your family.

It may be taken into account when the offender is sentenced.

For many people, it is important they have a say about something that has had a major impact on their lives. It is an important part of the recovery process for many victims.

Do I have to make a victim impact statement?

No. It is your choice whether you make a victim impact statement. You may be asked by the police, court or prosecutor if you want to prepare a victim impact statement. Or you can inform the court or prosecutor that you want to make a statement. The Victim Support and Child Witness Service can help you to do this.

When is a victim impact statement used?

This is your opportunity to assist the Court when it has to sentence the offender.

It is used if the offender pleads guilty or is found guilty by the court. The prosecutor will present your written victim impact statement to the court before the judge or magistrate decides the sentence. Your Victim Impact Statement needs to be prepared before a trial or hearing because sentencing can sometimes take place immediately after the offender is found guilty (though more often sentencing is set for a later date).

Can I make a verbal statement?

Usually, but this will need to be discussed with the prosecutor. They will then consult with the judge or magistrate who will make a formal decision.

Who gets to see my victim impact statement?

Three copies go to the court. One is for the judge or magistrate, one is for the prosecutor, and the offender’s lawyer also gets a copy. The offender usually gets to see your victim impact statement. Sometimes the prosecutor may read some or all of your statement to the court. The judge or magistrate may also refer to your victim impact statement when sentencing. This means that other people in the court (which may include the media) can hear your statement.

How long should it be?

It should be concise but cover all important points.

What do I include in my statement?

You might like to include:

  • details of any physical injuries and the effect of these
  • injuries on your life
  • where the crime has resulted in death, you may wish to talk about the  deceased person and the life they led
  • details of the emotional impact of the crime on you and your family
  • information about what your life was like before the crime if it has  changed (including any career changes or loss of future prospects)
  • details of the financial impact of the crime (eg lost wages, medical or  counselling expenses, transportation costs and damage to property)
  • any request for compensation or restitution to be considered by the court any other information you think is important.

Is there anything I should not include in my statement?

You should not include:

  • anything that is abusive or offensive
  • details of the crime, as this is contained in your police statement
  • how you would like the offender to be sentenced
  • anything that is factually inaccurate.

How do I set out the information?

There is no set style for writing a victim impact statement. It is important, however, that you write it in your own way and sign and date it. You can download a word document to use as a guide for writing a Victim Impact Statement. The statement can then be emailed to the Victim Support and Child Witness Service for additional guidance. Email vss@justice.wa.gov.au.

How do I lodge my victim impact statement?

The Victim Support and Child Witness Service can forward your victim impact statement to the court for you. If you would like to lodge it yourself, you will need to deliver your original victim impact statement and two copies to the Children's/Magistrates Court before the date the offender is due to be sentenced.

If the offender is being sentenced in the District or Supreme Court, your victim impact statement must be delivered to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Download the brochure below for the addresses of the agencies.

Can I get someone to help me write a victim impact statement?

Any person can assist you, but it is important that the statement is in your own words. The Victim Support and Child Witness Service will also help you.

What do I do if I can't write in English?

Contact the Victim Support and Child Witness Service. Staff can help you to write it in English or can arrange to have your statement translated from your language into English.

Victim Support and Child Witness Service
Level 2, District Court Building
500 Hay Street
Telephone: (08) 9425 2850
Facsimile: (08) 9221 2533
Freecall: 1800 818 988

Last updated: 12-Apr-2019

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