Victim Impact Statements
Victims of crime have the right to participate and to be heard in the criminal justice system through the use of Victim Impact Statements. A Victim Impact Statement provides the victim with an opportunity to address the court prior to sentencing.
This opportunity allows victims to personalize the crime and express the impact it has had on them and their families. This process may also help victims in their emotional recovery.
There is no obligation to submit a Victim Impact Statement – it is your choice. It can be either a written or oral statement given to the Judge at the time of sentencing. A copy of your statement may be given to the defense attorney and the defendant may also read it.
Typically, a Victim Impact Statement will contain the following:
- The physical, financial, psychological or emotional impact of the crime.
- Medical treatment, ongoing medical problems as a result of the crime
- Financial burden of medical treatment, counseling, loss of work, replacing stolen or damaged items
- Emotional struggles due to fears, loss of a loved one, relocation, ability to relate to others, changes in relationships, etc.
- The harm done to family
- Changes in family relationships or roles
- Financial struggles
- The need for restitution
- The victim’s feelings about an appropriate sentence for the offender
If you need further assistance in preparing a Victim Impact Statement, you may download a copy of the Victim Impact Questionnaire. If you would like assistance or have questions about writing an Impact Statement, please contact the Victim Assistance Unit at (215) 348-6292 or (215) 348-6305.