Victim Impact Statement: Examples

Instructor: Marcia Neely

Marcia Neely is a teacher who holds both a MS degree in Reading & Literacy and a Ed Specialist degree in Curriculum & Instruction.

The victim impact statement communicates the voice of a victim throughout the U.S. criminal and juvenile justice systems. This lesson will provide specific examples of this type of statement and an overview of its role and importance.

What Is a Victim Impact Statement?

Victim impact statements are written or an oral accounts from crime victims about how a crime has affected them. The statement itself can be presented orally, in writing, and in audiotape or videotape forms. Many states in the U.S. allow victim impact statements at some phase of criminal sentencing. These statements are also permitted in pre-sentencing reports and at parole hearings.


The purpose of victim impact statements is to allow victims of a crime the opportunity to personally describe the impact of the crime to the judge, court, or parole board. These statements are given during the decision making process, typically prior to or during plea bargaining, sentencing, or parole. The judge in each specific court case uses this pertinent information many times to help determine a criminal's sentence. Later, parole boards may use such information to help decide whether to grant a parole.


Victim impact statements may include a variety of descriptions, information, and examples. Many victims describe the emotional, physical, and financial damage caused by the crime. In addition, they may detail any medical or psychological treatments required by the victim or his or her family members. In almost all cases, the statement includes the victim's views on the crime and/or the offender, as well as the victim's views on an appropriate sentence.

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