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What Is the Victim Impact Statement?

    Definition

    • A victim impact statement may be written, video-taped, or oral. A victim impact statement or letter is a document that you send or bring to a court after you have been the victim of a crime. When you give it to the court it becomes a legal court document.

    Purpose

    • The statement allows you to give your input about how the crime has affected you and your opinion on the best way to hold the victim accountable, according to The Victim Impact Letter Resource Package developed by victim advocate Anne Seymour.

    Who Reads It

    • The judge and the prosecutor read, hear or see it during the trial, and it may be presented to the jury if there is a sentencing jury. If the person who committed the crime is found guilty, it may be read by his probation officer or prison officials where he might be held. The defendant and his attorney will also see the statement.

    Physical Impacts

    • In the victim impact statement, list all the physical and medical consequences you suffered because of the crime in question. Include resulting disabilities and medical bills.

    Emotional Impacts

    • The MADD Victim Impact Letter Outline suggests that you explain your feelings to the court, including how you are emotionally affected by the crime and the losses you face because of the crime.

    Requests

    • A victim impact statement gives you a chance to request a penalty you believe is just. It also is an opportunity to ask for restitution, says MADD.

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