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Victim Impact Statement

What is the purpose of a victim impact statement?

A Victim Impact Statement (VIS) tells the judge or magistrate about how a crime has affected you. It may be taken into account when the offender is sentenced. As the State prosecutes offenders, a victim impact statement may be the only opportunity you have to tell the court how a crime affected you. For many people, it is important they have a say about something that has had a major impact on their lives.

Do I have to make a VIS?

No. It is your choice whether you make a VIS. You may be asked by the police, court or prosecutor if you want to prepare a VIS. 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?

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. Sentencing can occur immediately after the offender is found guilty, or the judge or magistrate may set another time for sentencing.

The Prisoners Review Board (the Board) is also interested in understanding the impact of the offence upon you if the offender in your case is sentenced to a period of imprisonment and may be considered for parole release at some future time. There are two ways you can provide your views to the Board.

  • Submit a copy of your VIS direct to the Board or seek the assistance of the prosecutor (Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions) or Victim Support and Child Witness Service in submitting it on your behalf. The prosecutor or Victim Support and Child Witness Service will need your written consent to submit the VIS on your behalf.
  • Contact the Board directly on 9423 8700 and provide your VIS to them prior to the parole hearing. You can register with the Victim Notification Register (VNR) to be notified of parole hearings relating to your offender. VNR can be contacted on 9425 2870.

Can I make a verbal statement?

This will need to be discussed with the prosecutor. The prosecutor will consult with the judge or magistrate who will make a formal decision.

Who gets to see my VIS?

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 VIS. Sometimes the prosecutor may read some or all of your statement to the court. The judge or magistrate may also refer to your VIS when sentencing. This means 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 (for example, 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 VIS. 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 VIS. 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 VIS to the court for you. If you would like to lodge it yourself, you will need to deliver your original VIS 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 VIS 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 the statement is in your own words. The Victim Support and Child Witness Service can 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.


Last updated: 28-Mar-2017

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