Victim impact statements provide victims with the opportunity to tell the court in their own words how a crime has affected them. Victoria introduced victim impact statement legislation in 1994.
In 2007, the Attorney-General asked the Victims Support Agency (VSA) to evaluate the operation of victim impact statement legislation in Victoria. A Victim's Voice: Victim Impact Statements in Victoria examines whether victim impact statements:
- are the most appropriate way of informing the court about the impact of crime
- assist the court in sentencing
- increase victims' satisfaction with the criminal justice process.
The report is based on extensive research and consultations with key stakeholders involved in the victim impact statement process including police, prosecutors, the defence council, the judiciary and magistracy, victims' service agencies, witness assistance services and victims of crime.
The VSA's evaluation revealed broad support for victim impact statements amongst victims of crime, victims' service agencies, criminal justice agencies and the judiciary. The report makes recommendations designed to further enhance the operation of victim impact statement legislation in Victoria, aiming to:
- give victims a stronger voice in the sentencing process
- enable victims to exercise their right to make a victim impact statement
- enable victims to engage meaningfully with the victim impact statement process.
Find out more about Victim Impact Statements.