Sentencing is when the judge decides the offender’s punishment. You don’t have to attend court for the sentencing hearing unless you want to.
The sentencing hearing is when your victim impact statement is presented to the court.
How does the judge decide what sentence to give?
The judge is required by law to take many factors into account when sentencing the offender, such as:
- how serious the offence was
- the impact on you and other people affected by the crime
- the offender’s personal circumstances
- what sentences have been given for other similar crimes
- reports about the offender (such as a pre-sentence report, reparation report and victim impact statements).
Can I have a say in the sentencing process?
Some victims and their families find it frustrating that the sentencing process is focused on the offender, their life and circumstances, rather than focusing on the victim and the impact the crime had on them.
Your victim impact statement is the way for you to be heard in the process and to tell the court how the crime has affected you.
The judge is required to consider your victim impact statement when sentencing the offender.