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