If you have been harmed by a crime, you have the right to tell a court how it has affected you. You can do this by writing a victim impact statement.
A victim impact statement is usually a written statement presented by the prosecutor to the court. It is given after the offender has been found guilty and before they are sentenced.
It can help the court understand how you have been harmed before they decide how the offender will be punished. You can choose not to make a statement.
What to include in your statement
Anything you write must be truthful, accurate and relevant to the crime.
You can include details of any of the following:
- the physical injury
- medical treatment you have received
- long term physical harm you may suffer
- psychological or emotional harm
- counselling you are receiving
- any financial loss.
You can also include documents such as medical reports and receipts.
How to make a victim impact statement
Victims usually prepare their own statements.
You can get help from any of the following:
- the Witness Assistance Service (WAS)
- the police
- a counsellor
You do not have to include details of the crime, as the court already knows about it.
Write your statement.
You can download forms that will help guide you through making a statement. There are two forms you can choose from, depending on whether you want to write or type a statement.
Sign and date your form.
Submit your statement by mail, email or in person to the Witness Assistance Service, or a police station if you live in a remote area.
Interpreter services can help if you have difficulty with English.
When the victim has died
If you are the relative of a victim who died as the result of a crime, you can make a victim impact statement on their behalf.
A relative includes any of the following:
- de facto partner
- relative according to Aboriginal custom.
If you are financially or psychologically dependent on the person you can also make a victim impact statement.
You can write the statement yourself or ask a counsellor, psychologist or psychiatrist to write it. They must also sign it.
If you choose not to make a statement
If you don’t want to write a victim impact statement, you can still tell the prosecutor how the crime affected you. This is called a victim report, which the prosecutor will give to the court.
The prosecutor does not have to give a victim report to the court if the victim can’t be found or there are no details of the harm suffered by the victim.