Victim Impact Statement

The Sentencing Act 1991 requires the impact of the crime on victims to be taken into account during sentencing. The court must consider:

  • the impact of the offence on any victim of the offence
  • the personal circumstances of any victim of the offence
  • any injury, loss, or damage resulting directly from the offence.

One way a court can determine the impact of a crime on a victim is through a Victim Impact Statement (VIS). The Victim Impact Statement may be partly or wholly read or presented to the court at sentencing. The statement may include photographs, drawings, poems, and other material relating to the impact of the offence on the victim.

A Victim Impact Statement does not directly affect a sentence, but it helps complete the picture of the crime for the sentencing judge or magistrate.

Victims Charter

Introduced in 2006, the Victims Charter sets out principles for the treatment of victims of crime by criminal justice agencies. Under the Charter, victims have a right to prepare a Victim Impact Statement.

Under the Victims Charter, the victim of a violent crime committed by an adult offender may apply to be placed on the Victims Register so that they are informed of the offender’s parole or release.

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