As a victim of crime, you can write a “Victim Impact Statement” for the judge to read before sentencing the defendant in your case.
This is a chance to tell the Court about any changes that may have happened to you and/or your family as a result of the crime. It is not a “re-telling” of the facts: but rather an explanation in your own words of how the crime has affected you.
Victim Impact Statements may be difficult to write, but they are a very important part of letting your voice be heard.
A Victim Impact Statement can simply be a letter to the judge. As you write this letter, please consider the following:
- Have you been emotionally affected by this crime?If yes, you may wish to discuss how the crime may have affected relationships with others. If you received or are receiving any form of counseling, you may wish to mention this.
- Were you physically injured or hurt as a result of this crime?If yes, you may wish to write about the type of injuries you had, what medical treatment you received or are receiving, and how long these injuries lasted or are expected to last.
- How has this crime affected you, your family and those close to you?You may wish to write about changes that may have occurred in your family, in your ability to perform your work, make a living, run a household or enjoy any other activities you enjoyed before the crime.
- Have you suffered any financial loss as a result of this crime?If so, you may wish to attach specific or itemized information about property loss/damage; deductibles which you had to pay; unreimbursed medical bills; and/or lost wages or income. Include a total requested amount in your letter.
- Do you have any thoughts about the sentence you would like the judge to give the defendant?If you would like to request restitution or would like the judge to issue a “no-contact” order instructing the defendant to stay away from you and your family, please include this request in your letter.
Your letter/Victim Impact Statement should be signed; please do NOT include your address or phone number. MAIL or DELIVER your letter to your Victim Specialist.
If a Presentence Investigation (PSI) Report is being prepared in this case, your Victim Specialist can make sure the Probation Officer includes it with the PSI.
The judge, Commonwealth’s Attorney, defense attorney, and the defendant in your case will read the PSI. After sentencing, the PSI will become a sealed part of the court records.