Victim Impact




Victimimpact statements are oral, videotaped, or written information fromvictims of a crime, in their own words, in relation to how theoffense has affected them. This gives the victim an opportunity toinform the court how the wrongdoing affected their lives. Moreover, avictim impact statement is considered in determining the severity ofthe sentence and/or at a parole hearing. Most states permit victimimpact statements at parole hearings, and it is included in thepre-judgment report presented to the judge. However, there are fewrules regarding what the victim should say.

Onepurpose behind the statement is to permit an individual or personsmost specifically affected by the wrongdoing to address the courtamid the judgment making process (Englebrecht, 2008). Moreover, ithelps bring the crime to a personal level of the victim while liftinghis/ her status. From the victim`s perspective, it is understood as asignificant tool in supporting their recuperation from theirexperience. Additionally, sociologists and criminologists recommendthat the victims participate in the decision making process to makethe criminals face the consequences of their wrongdoing. As a result,this will aid them recover from the experience (Abadinsky, 2012).

Anotherreason for the statement is to enlighten a court of the harm enduredby the victimized person if the court is required to consider thedamage endured by the exploited person in choosing the sentence. Ajudge may use facts from this information to help focus on thesentence that suits the offender. Additionally, a parole board mayuse the victim impact statement to assist them on deciding whether itis necessary to permit a parole and the conditions to be put in placein case of discharging a guilty party. A few states permit victimimpact information to be commenced at plea bargain hearings, bail, orpre-trial release (Englebrecht, 2008).

Victimimpact statements may give information relating to the victim’sinjury that would not have been available to parole boards or courts(Abadinsky, 2012). Victimized persons are normally not called to giveevidence in court proceedings, and if they bear witness, they mustrespond to specific, narrow inquiries. Victim impact statements arethe victims` solitary opportunity to take part in the criminaljustice procedure or to face the wrongdoers who have caused harm tothem. Many victims agree that a victim impact statement helps toimprove their fulfillment with the criminal justice process and helpsthem rehabilitate from the offense (Englebrecht, 2008).

Inconclusion, a good victim impact statement should explain how thecrime affected the victim. The victim may be affected emotionally orfinancially. Moreover, the victim might have changed his or hernormal way of living due to safety concerns. Additionally, the victimshould explain if the crime affected his or her ability to performhome or office duties, attend school, or enjoy any other activitiesthat he or she performed previously. Nevertheless, a good victimimpact statement should not repeat evidence that is already presentedin court.


Abadinsky,H. (2012). Probationand parole: Theory and practice (11th ed.). UpperSaddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall

Englebrecht,M. (2008). The Statement: An Analysis of Its Content, Function, andMeaning Within the Criminal Justice System.State University of New York at Albany: ProQuest