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Victim Impact Statements

A Victim Impact Statement is a description of how a crime has affected you. This may be a written statement or other form of information given to the court.

If you do not wish to do a written statement but you want the judge to know how the crime affected you, you must contact Crown counsel to ensure that the information is given to the judge.

Victim Impact Statements Are

  • written by you or any family member, friend or other member of your community who has suffered mental or physical injury, emotional trauma or significant economic loss because of the crime,
  • used in sentencing if the accused is found guilty or pleads guilty,
  • useful to Crown counsel and the judge in helping them fully understand how the crime has affected you,
  • written in your own words, describing how the crime affected you and your family, and
  • an opportunity to express concern about future contact with the accused and to describe any financial loss you have suffered as a result of the crime.

Victim Impact Statements Are Not

  • mandatory or required by the Court,
  • used to describe the crime or how it occurred (this information is included in your witness statement made to the police), or
  • to include comments about the accused or the sentence.

Recording victim impact information can be an emotional process. Although the writing of a statement should be your own, allow friends, family or a victim support worker to support you while you write it. Allow yourself enough time to write a statement and honestly assess what the impact of the crime has been. For some victims, writing a statement allows them an opportunity to regain control and be heard as an individual.

Victim impact statements are not always written by the victims themselves. The court will also accept statements from friends, family, and representatives of individual communities or others who have been affected by the crime.

Your completed Victim Impact Statement may be given to the judge at sentencing if the accused is found or pleads guilty, and can also be used at bail and parole hearings. If you have concerns about your safety, you may set out your concerns in the statement.

Damage or loss of property can be described, to let the court know the details of how the crime affected you. If your statement is filed in court, the judge must take it under consideration when making decisions and judgments. Restitution may be considered in cases where there is monetary loss or damages.

You should be aware that Crown counsel must also provide a copy of your statement to the defence counsel or the accused prior to sentencing and you can be questioned in court on what you have written.

You can update your Victim Impact Statement at any time by contacting Crown counsel with the new information or by giving a signed addition to Crown counsel.

If at any time you need assistance with writing a Victim Impact Statement or would like more information, you may talk to your Victim Service Worker.

Write Your Statement - Download a Guide and Forms

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