The effect of the provision of victim impact statements on sentencing in the local courts of New South Wales

Author(s)Baptie, Joan
Title The effect of the provision of victim impact statements on sentencing in the local courts of New South Wales
Source Judicial Review, v.7, no.1, Sept 2004: (73)-88 [Revised version of a paper presented at the Metropolitan Seminar Series II, November 2003, Sydney.]
Date 2004
Document type Journal article
Coverage NSW Australia
Summary Magistrate Baptie provides an overview of victim impact statements in New South Wales, examining the provisions of the legislation and the legislative history that gave rise to their admission. The article discusses general sentencing principles and the role of victim impact statements within the sentencing process. Some of the perceived benefits of victim impact statements are outlined, including: an aid to the sentencing court to make an informed decision; reduction of a victim's sense of alienation in the criminal justice system and providing a cathartic benefit to the victim. Arguments against victim impact statements include: violation of human rights; the sentencing process should be dispassionate; and may result in inconsistent sentences. Some early empirical studies on the use of victim impact statements are discussed together with cases from the NSW court.
Keywords Victim impact statements
Topic Victim impact statements