Victim Impact Statement
What is a Victim Impact Statement?
Under provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada and the Youth Criminal Justice Act, a Victim Impact Statement allows you to express in writing to a Judge how being a victim of crime has affected you and those close to you.
The purpose of the Victim Impact Statement is to describe how the crime has affected you emotionally and physically and the effect it has had on your life. If charges are laid, and if the accused person is found guilty, your Victim Impact Statement will be considered by the Judge during sentencing.
Who may prepare a Victim Impact Statement?
Anyone who is a victim of a crime may prepare a Victim Impact Statement. In a case where the victim has died or is not capable of preparing a Victim Impact Statement, the Victim Impact Statement may be prepared by a spouse or relative.
Do I have to prepare a Victim Impact Statement?
No. Your decision to prepare a Victim Impact Statement is a voluntary one. It provides you with an opportunity to participate in the criminal justice system by describing how the offence has affected you and those close to you.
Why should I prepare a Victim Impact Statement?
The Victim Impact Statement provides you with an opportunity to describe how you have been affected by the crime.
For the Court
If a charge is laid and the accused person is found guilty, your Victim Impact Statement will be considered by the Judge at the time of sentencing. Your Victim Impact Statement will help the Court understand how the crime has affected you emotionally and physically and the effect the crime had on your life.
How do I prepare the Victim Impact Statement?
Victim Impact Statement forms are available from Police and Victim Service Units. The Victim Impact Statement is to be written in your own words and describe how you have been affected by the crime
What is appropriate to include in a Victim Impact Statement?
- How the crime has affected you physically.
- How the crime has affected you emotionally.
- Fears for your safety
- You can draw a picture, write a poem or letter to include in your statement if it helps you express the impact the crime has had on you.
How and when will my Victim Impact Statement be used?
After a finding of guilt, before sentencing
After a finding of guilt and before the offender is sentenced, your Victim Impact Statement will be provided to the Court. The Victim Impact Statement will be considered by the Judge at the time the offender is sentenced. The Judge, the Crown prosecutor, the defense lawyer and the offender will receive copies of your Victim Impact Statement. At the sentencing hearing, you may be cross-examined on the contents of your Victim Impact Statement.
Please note that sentencing can occur at any time
For example, if an accused person pleads guilty, sentencing could occur on short notice. In order for a Victim Impact Statement to be considered in these circumstances, it should be at the courthouse as soon as possible.
If the offender is sentenced to probation or jail, your Victim Impact Statement will be provided to provincial or federal correctional authorities and the National Parole Board. You may also be able to read your Victim Impact Statement at National Parole Board hearings. If you require further information, contact the National Parole Board toll-free at 1-888-616-5277.
If the accused person is found "not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder," your Victim Impact Statement will be provided to the Alberta Review Board. The Board may allow you to present your Victim Impact Statement in person. It can also take steps to protect your identity.
What is NOT appropriate to include in a Victim Impact Statement?
- A description of the crime or how the crime occurred.
- Details of the crime, the time, date, location or sequence of events. This information will have been in the witness statement you gave to police. By the time your Victim Impact Statement is considered by the Court, the accused person has already been found guilty.
- Offences the accused may have been charged with or convicted of in the past or since the incident in question.
- Your opinions or criticisms about the accused person's character.
- Your thoughts or recommendations as to the type of sentence or the severity of punishment the accused should receive.
If your Victim Impact Statement contains any of the above, the Court may disregard it.