You do not have to make a Victim Impact Statement. It is your choice.
There are rules about what you can say in your statement.
The Victim Impact Statement form can help you write your statement. Download here:
Give your statement to the legal team prosecuting the case.
You can get help to prepare your statement – call Victims of Crime Helpline on 1800 819 817.
If someone pleads guilty or is found guilty of the crime, you can tell the court about how the crime has affected you. This is called a Victim Impact Statement.
This is different to the statement you made to police during the investigation to tell them what happened at the time of the crime.
The Victim Impact Statement is a chance to explain how the crime has affected you:
Your Victim Impact Statement is one of things the judge or magistrate will take into account when deciding what penalty to give the offender.
You do not have to make a Victim Impact Statement if you do not want to. It is your choice. If you decide not to make one, the court will still hear about how the crime affected you through the other evidence presented in the court case.
Who can make a Victim Impact Statement?
Any victim of any crime can make a Victim Impact Statement.
A person is a victim of crime if they are physically injured or suffer emotional problems, loss or damage because of a crime. This includes any grief, distress or trauma that a crime causes.
This does not just include the person directly affected by the crime (sometimes known as the primary victim).
Other people can be secondary victims of crime and make a Victim Impact Statement.
- people who witness the crime
- family members and sometimes friends of the person directly affected.
Usually, a person needs to write their own Victim Impact Statement, but you can prepare one for someone else if they:
- are under 18 years of age
- are ill
- have a physical or intellectual disability.
You can get help to prepare your Victim Impact Statement
For some people writing a Victim Impact Statement can bring up strong emotions about the crime, or it can just be difficult to know what to include. You can get help and emotional support to write your statement.
Call the Victims of Crime Helpline on 1800 819 817 for information, advice and support.
Help for children and young people preparing Victim Impact Statements
The Child Witness Service is a service available across Victoria and can help children, young people and their families to complete Victim Impact Statements.
Wait to write your Victim Impact Statement
It is best not to start writing your statement straight after the crime happens, because it can take time to understand how a crime has affected you.
A Victim Impact Statement must be submitted to the court before the offender has been sentenced.
You can find out more about how Victim Impact Statements are used at court.
Submit your Victim Impact Statement to the court
Give your Victim Impact Statement to the legal team prosecuting the case. This may be:
- the police officer in charge of the case (sometimes called the police informant) or
- the Office of Public Prosecutions (or your Victims and Witness Assistance Service Worker, if you have one) for cases being heard at the Supreme or County Courts.
You should let them know before the plea hearing if:
- you want some or all of your Victim Impact Statement read aloud
- there are some parts of your statement you do not want read aloud
- you want a witness such as your doctor to give evidence to support what you have included in your statement.
You can learn more about:
How to prepare your Victim Impact Statement
There are rules about what you can include in your Victim Impact Statement.
This is because there are laws about what evidence is allowed in court (admissible evidence) and what is not allowed (inadmissible evidence). The most important thing to remember is your Victim Impact Statement should only be about how you have been affected by the crime.
If you include information that is not about the impact of the crime on you, all or part of your Victim Impact Statement might be inadmissible.
A judge may still accept your Victim Impact Statement even if some of it is inadmissible, however:
- the inadmissible parts of your Victim Impact Statement will not be read aloud in court
- the court will not take the inadmissible part of your Victim Impact Statement into account when sentencing the offender.
If there is a concern that some parts of your statement will not be admissible, the prosecution team may ask to discuss it with you before the hearing.
It is also important to remember that your Victim Impact Statement becomes part of the official court file and may be read by journalists and the general public.
There are rules to stop sexual assault victims being named in the media, but you may want to think about your privacy as you are considering what to include in your statement.
What you need to prepare your statement
There is no set way to prepare a Victim Impact Statement, but every statement must have a statutory declaration at the end.
A statutory declaration is a statement signed by you and declared to be true and correct in front of an authorised witness.
Examples of people that can be an authorised witness include:
- police officers
- bank managers
- state school principals.
By signing the statutory declaration, you agree your statement is true. You can be charged with making a false statement (perjury) if you include information you know is not true. You must be as accurate as possible with the information in your Victim Impact Statement.
You can learn more about making a statutory declaration and who can be an authorised witness on the Department of Justice and Community Safety's website.
Use the Victim Impact Statement form
One way to prepare your statement is by using the Victim Impact Statement form. You can type directly into this form, save it to your computer and print it when you are done.
The form has a statutory declaration for you to fill out.
Some people use this form as a journal to help them remember things to include later on.