If someone pleads guilty or is found guilty of the crime, you can tell the court about how the crime has affected you.

You can do this by making a Victim Impact Statement (VIS).

Your VIS can help the judge or magistrate understand how the crime has affected you and is one of the things they think about when deciding what penalty to give the offender.

A VIS is different to the statement you make to the police, where you tell them exactly what happened at the time of the crime.

About Victim Impact Statements

A VIS gives you a chance to talk about how you feel, and what has happened to you because of the crime.

It's about explaining how the crime has affected you:

  • physically
  • emotionally
  • financially
  • socially.

Who can make a VIS?

Any victim of any crime can make a Victim Impact Statement.

You are a victim of crime if you 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.

You don't need to be the person who the crime was committed against (sometimes called the 'primary victim') to make a VIS. Family members and sometimes friends can also be considered victims of the crime, and can make one.

You can also prepare a VIS on behalf of a primary victim if they:

  • are under 18 years of age
  • are ill
  • have a physical or intellectual disability.

Do I have to make a VIS?

No - making a VIS is optional. You don't have to make one if you don't 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 evidence presented throughout the court case.

If you would like to make a VIS you should talk with the investigating officer or prosecutor. If you have a Witness Assistance Officer you should talk with them too.

Next: Preparing your VIS >