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Q: Guide to making an effective Victim Impact Statement ( No Answer,   3 Comments )
Subject: Guide to making an effective Victim Impact Statement
Category: Relationships and Society > Law
Asked by: markabe-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 14 Mar 2004 02:00 PST
Expires: 13 Apr 2004 03:00 PDT
Question ID: 316535
Last year a man attacked me with a knife. I received a letter telling
me I will be requesting me to make a Victim Impact Statement

I?d like to know what resources there are on the net to tell me how to
make an effective Victim Impact Statement.

Clarification of Question by markabe-ga on 16 Mar 2004 02:20 PST

Yes, I?m in Queensland, so the links are helpful, although I already
had similar information sent to me by the justice department.

I?m after more hands-on information, preferably with relevant examples.

Clarification of Question by markabe-ga on 16 Mar 2004 02:26 PST

It was the scariest night of my life, and I remember it every time I
leave or arrive home, as it happened just outside.

Drafting a statement sounds like a good idea. If I can get it done in
time I?ll post it up.
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Guide to making an effective Victim Impact Statement
From: stressedmum-ga on 14 Mar 2004 02:34 PST
Are you in Australia? Victim Impact Statements are big news here at
the moment and as a result, most state government justice departments
have guides on how to go about it. Hope these two are useful, wherever
you are...

This site from Queensland's Department of Justice has a pretty good

and this one from the Northern Territory deptartment of Justice:

All the best.
Subject: Re: Guide to making an effective Victim Impact Statement
From: probonopublico-ga on 14 Mar 2004 03:44 PST

That must have been traumatic, even if it left you physically
unaffected, I can imagine that the event will haunt you for some time
to come.

After you have explored Stressed Mum's links, may I suggest that you
draft a statement and post it here for comments?
Subject: Re: Guide to making an effective Victim Impact Statement
From: stressedmum-ga on 16 Mar 2004 19:40 PST
Hi Markabe, 

This is based on my personal experience as well as what I've learned
from reading the various websites relevant to this subject.

Remember, the most effective statement will be the one that accurately
explains how this crime has hurt you, affected you, scared you,
angered you, stopped you going about your normal life, limited your
enjoyment of your life; stopped you sleeping, eating, trusting;
stopped you feeling safe at home, affected your friendships,
relationships, leisure and hobbies, working life, etc. Has it cost you
money in terms of having to take taxis instead of walking? Did you
lose time and money at work because of this? Do you have/want to have
someone with you when you go outside? That's the kind of information
they're expecting to hear.

Have you seen this site from NSW?
If you go to the end of the page, they have a pro forma of a victim
impact statement that is very straightforward.

Then there's this site from South Australia which might give you some
ideas of articulating your feelings:

I can't seem to find anything that has real examples of VIS. (I'm sure
a GA Researcher will be able to though.) I'm sure you've seen plenty
of the 'how to' fact sheets, but really, they're all saying the same
thing. Just put it into your words how this crime against you has
affected your life and wellbeing. In fact, in the Victorian Dept. of
Justice site (, offers the following
information about getting help:

Can I get someone to help me with my Victim Impact Statement?

The Victim Impact Statement form included in the Victim Impact
Statement Information Booklet can be used to guide you on some matters
to include in your Statement. You may also ask someone (such as a
friend or relative) to assist you, but it is important that the
statement be in your own words. You are required to declare that
everything contained in your Statement is true and correct in every

What you mentioned to probonopublico about how you remember it every
time you leave or arrive home is very relevant, and this is the sort
of info you need to include.

Maybe contacting a citizen's advice bureau will be helpful (your local
council will have details of one near you. Here is one on the Gold
Coast: Or try a legal
advice centre (  and
scroll down the page for QLD addresses). Or a victims of crime
organisation will surely have someone to assist.
( At any one of these
places I think you'll find that someone there will be able to give you
some hands on help with putting it together, if that's what you want.

Here is some related info that might be of interest to you, and was
taken from this website:

"A victim impact statement is a statement by the victim of a crime
that explains the harm suffered by the victim. For a number of serious
offences (generally involving the death of a person, or bodily harm to
a person, or actual or threatened violence or sexual assault), the
sentencing court may receive and consider a victim impact statement
before it sentences the offender. If the victim has died as a direct
result of the offence, the court must receive a victim impact
statement given by a member of the victim?s immediate family, and the
court may make any comment on it that the court considers appropriate.
See the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (sections 26 - 30).

The main arguments in favour of victim impacts statements are:

    * They provide a useful aid to the sentencing court, to assist the
court in making an informed decision. They are particularly useful in
cases where the court does not have an opportunity to hear the
victim?s testimony, such as when the offender pleads guilty.

    * They reduce victim alienation, by giving victims a voice in
proceedings. Without such participation a victim may have no role in
the criminal justice process, or a role only as a witness subject to
examination and cross-examination.

    * They provide satisfaction and psychological benefit to victims,
and so can result in improved cooperation with the criminal justice
system, increasing the efficiency of the system.

    * They assist in making the sentencing process more democratic and
reflective of the community?s response to crime. This does not
necessarily mean that harsher sentences will result ? victims have not
generally been found to be more punitive than judges or the general

    * They may be able to promote rehabilitation of the offender, as
the offender is confronted with the of the harm caused to the victim.

The main arguments against victim impact statements

    * They interfere with the principle that the processes prosecution
and punishment properly belong to the acting in the public interest.
The role of the state to represent the interests of the victim and of
the community as a whole. Crimes are a breach of the the community,
and punishment should reflect the interests of the community.

    * They present only the subjective view of the victim, the
sentencing court should take an objective view offender and the
circumstances of the crime. An emotional, perhaps vengeful, element is
introduced into what should be a dispassionate process.

    * They may result in the court giving too much weight to the
effect of the crime on the victim, and neglecting other considerations
such as the offender?s potential for rehabilitation.

    * They may contain information that is exaggerated true, or that
the offender contests. It is argued that offenders should be allowed
to challenge the statement, giving further information or
cross-examining the This may add further complexity and delay to the
sentencing process.

    * They may result in inconsistent sentences because differing
nature of victims. Punishments should not because of the effect that
the offence has on the Otherwise an offender whose crime has caused
great psychological trauma may receive a heavier sentence than one
whose victim had more fortitude.

Information in this section is derived from G Griffith, Victim Impact
Statements, NSW Parliamentary Library Briefing Note No 7/95"

 I truly wish you all the best with this and, more importantly, for the future.

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