Victim Impact Statement
A Victim Impact Statement (VIS) is your opportunity to inform the Judiciary how this violent crime has affected you and your family. A VIS is only used if and when the offender is found guilty.
You and your family are encouraged to share your thoughts, hurt, feelings, and an insight to your life without your loved one with the judge. This is perhaps the only opportunity families get to have their anguish considered; as such we encourage you to take some time to do this, even if that means only one paragraph.
It is important to know that there is no right or wrong way of writing a VIS. The important thing is that you are satisfied with its content, and that it accurately portrays your experience. The staff at QHVSG can help you with drafting your statement, however some questions to help guide you are:
- How did I react when I was told my loved one had been murdered?
- How would I describe my loved one to the Judge?
- What are the things I am missing most about my loved one?
- What are the things I will miss most into the future (such as birth of grandchildren)?
- What are those special qualities about them that are irreplaceable?
- Was I physically injured and do I have ongoing pain and/or medical needs?
- How has this affected me financially/emotionally/physically/spiritually?
- What changes have I noticed in my immediate family?
- How is my life now, compared to what it was before?
In some courts in Queensland, survivors are permitted to give their victim impact statement verbally at the sentencing hearing itself, or have the prosecutor present the statement before the court. Usually the Prosecution will hand your VIS up to the Judge who will consider your statement when sentencing, and have either the Judge or Judge’s Associate read your statement out loud.