Making a victim impact statement

If you were harmed as the result of a serious crime, or you are a family member of a victim who died as the result of a crime, you will usually have the opportunity to make a victim impact statement (VIS) to the court.

If you want to, you can read your VIS aloud, or have someone read it for you.

VISs are made before an offender who has pleaded guilty or was found guilty is sentenced.

 

Who can make a VIS?

You will usually be able to make a VIS if you suffered physical or psychological / psychiatric harm in a serious crime that involved:

  • physical violence (including sexual assault), or threats of violence
  • someone's death, or physical harm.

You don’t have to have been a direct victim, you can be a witness who suffered psychological / psychiatric harm. Both direct victims and witnesses are referred to as ‘primary’ victims.

You can also make a VIS if you are an immediate family member of a victim who died as the result of a crime (a ‘family’ victim). More than one member of a family can make a VIS.

A judge can still decide to accept a VIS in other circumstances. If you want to make one, talk to the prosecutor as early as possible about whether you will be able to.

A VIS is voluntary – it is up to you whether or not you make one. It is important to know that if you choose not to, the court will not take this to mean you have not been harmed.