How to Write a Victim Impact Statement in Alberta?

If you or a loved one have been involved in a crime, you may be encouraged to write a victim impact statement against the offender. Writing your impact statement can be a very emotional process, seeing that you will tell the judge how this crime has affected your life emotionally, physically, and financially. Although a victim impact statement is not required, it is highly recommended by a lawyer because the judge will consider this information when sentencing the offender.



Who can write a victim impact statement?

The Government of Alberta recognizes that crime affects not only the victim directly but also their loved ones and community. Therefore, a victim impact statement can be written by:

  • Any individual directly impacted by a crime either physically, emotionally, via property damage or money loss;
  • A family member who’s loved one has been affected by a crime;
  • The survivors of deceased victims;
  • Parents or guardians of a child victim; or
  • A common-law partner, spouse, or dependant of a victim who is unable to make a statement.
What can an impact statement include or not include?

There are some general guidelines around what your impact statement can include. To remember what to include, think about how this crime has impacted you:

  • Emotionally;
  • Physically;
  • Financially; and
  • Any ongoing fears (i.e. for the safety of you and your family).

Topics that should not be included in your impact statement are:

  • Request for financial help (you can only state how you have been financially impacted);
  • Talk about other crimes;
  • Support the offender(s) for what they have done;
  • Make accusations towards the offender that has not been proven;
  • Complain about the police or legal system;
  • Provide the judge with a suggestion about what the sentence should be – unless first approved by the judge; and
  • Make statements about the crime or offender, which is not related to your suffering.

How do you write a victim impact statement?

When sitting down to write your impact statement, it’s important to remember that although you may be feeling vulnerable, what you choose to share could have dire consequences on the offender’s future.

You may not know where to begin, so before you start writing your impact statement, we encourage you to ask yourself the following three questions.

  1. What emotional scars am I living with? Have I had to seek professional help or counseling to heal? How long could this healing journey take and how much will it cost?
  2. What did your life look like before the crime? How has it changed physically, emotionally, and financially? For example, you may no longer be able to work full-time as a nurse. This is because of the severe migraines due to the head injury experienced from the crime. Make sure to dig deeper into how this suffering impacts your income, everyday activities, family relationships, etc.
  3. What property was damaged, if any?

Note: To help express how the crime has affected you, it helps to include a written poem, drawings, or a letter with your statement.

Answering the above questions allows you to “brain dump” all of your feelings, emotions, and thoughts onto paper. This will provide you with a little more clarity and make it easier to draft your statement.

At this point, you are ready to complete the Victim Impact Statement Form.

Once the form is completed, make sure to print out a copy for your records. Then, submit your statement to the clerk at the courthouse where the trial will be, your local victim services unit, or the local police service or RCMP detachment.

Note: Make sure to give yourself enough time to write and submit your statement to the judge. You need to make sure this is completed before the offender is sentenced.

At McGuiness Law, we understand how emotionally challenging this entire experience can be. That is why we are here for you every step of the way. We value quality over volume, providing clients with compassion and support throughout the entire criminal process. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a crime in Alberta, give our all-female team a call at (780) 900 7941 or visit our website at McGuiness Law.