Heterogeneity in victim participation: a new perspective on delivering a Victim Impact Statement

Author(s)Lens, Kim M.E., Antony Pemberton and Stefan Bogaerts
Title Heterogeneity in victim participation: A new perspective on delivering a Victim Impact statement
Source European Journal of Criminology,July 2013, Vol. 10, No. 4, pp 479-495
Date 2013
Document type Journal article
Coverage The Netherlands
Summary This study explores the purposes and function of the Victim Impact Statement (VIS) from the victims' perspectives and considers which variables contribute to the likelihood of a VIS being delivered. The participants in the study were 170 victims of serious crimes who were eligible to submit a VIS, recruited through the offices of the Dutch Public Prosecution Service. The questionnaire completed by the participants examined demographics, crime features, psychological characteristics of the victim and victims' perceptions of the VIS. The results of the study showed that the impact of the crime on the victim is positively correlated with the likelihood of delivering a VIS, particularly if the victim is showing signs of poorer psychological functioning. Time since victimisation is also positively correlated with the likelihood of delivering a VIS. The authors discuss practical implications from the results of this study and emphasise the importance of focusing on which available procedural instrument works for which victim and under what conditions. An important finding to be put into practice is that it is not victim perspectives of the VIS that determines the likelihood of its use but rather the impact of the crime.
Keywords Victim Impact Statements; VIS; participation; crime severity; criminal justice system; The Netherlands
Topic Victim impact statements