Victim Impact Statement

What is the purpose of a victim impact statement?

A Victim Impact Statement (VIS) tells the judge or magistrate about how a crime has affected you. It may be taken into account when the offender is sentenced. As the State prosecutes offenders, a victim impact statement may be the only opportunity you have to tell the court how a crime affected you. For many people, it is important they have a say about something that has had a major impact on their lives.

Do I have to make a VIS?

No. It is your choice whether you make a VIS. You may be asked by the police, court or prosecutor if you want to prepare a VIS. Or you can inform the court or prosecutor that you want to make a statement. The Victim Support and Child Witness Service can help you to do this.

When is a victim impact statement used?

It is used if the offender pleads guilty or is found guilty by the court. The prosecutor will present your written victim impact statement to the court before the judge or magistrate decides the sentence. Sentencing can occur immediately after the offender is found guilty, or the judge or magistrate may set another time for sentencing.

The Prisoners Review Board (the Board) is also interested in understanding the impact of the offence upon you if the offender in your case is sentenced to a period of imprisonment and may be considered for parole release at some future time. There are two ways you can provide your views to the Board.

Can I make a verbal statement?

This will need to be discussed with the prosecutor. The prosecutor will consult with the judge or magistrate who will make a formal decision.

Who gets to see my VIS?

Three copies go to the court. One is for the judge or magistrate, one is for the prosecutor, and the offender’s lawyer also gets a copy. The offender usually gets to see your VIS. Sometimes the prosecutor may read some or all of your statement to the court. The judge or magistrate may also refer to your VIS when sentencing. This means other people in the court (which may include the media) can hear your statement.

How long should it be?

It should be concise but cover all important points.

What do I include in my statement?

You might like to include:

Is there anything I should not include in my statement?

You should not include:

How do I set out the information?

There is no set style for writing a VIS. It is important, however, that you write it in your own way and sign and date it. You can download a word document to use as a guide for writing a VIS. The statement can then be emailed to the Victim Support and Child Witness Service for additional guidance. Email vss@justice.wa.gov.au.

How do I lodge my victim impact statement?

The Victim Support and Child Witness Service can forward your VIS to the court for you. If you would like to lodge it yourself, you will need to deliver your original VIS and two copies to the Children’s/Magistrates Court before the date the offender is due to be sentenced. If the offender is being sentenced in the District or Supreme Court, your VIS must be delivered to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Download the brochure below for the addresses of the agencies.

Can I get someone to help me write a victim impact statement?

Any person can assist you, but it is important the statement is in your own words. The Victim Support and Child Witness Service can also help you.

What do I do if I can't write in English?

Contact the Victim Support and Child Witness Service. Staff can help you to write it in English or can arrange to have your statement translated from your language into English.

Last updated: 24-Oct-2017

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