Victim impact statements at sentencing: Judicial experiences and perceptions. A survey of three jurisdictions

Author(s)Roberts, Julian and Edgar, Allen
Title Victim impact statements at sentencing: Judicial experiences and perceptions. A survey of three jurisdictions
Source Report prepared for the Department of Justice Canada. March 31 2006
Date 2008
Document type Research report
Coverage Canada
Summary The purpose of this report was to explore the perceptions and experiences of judges relating to the use of victim impact statements (VIS). Surveys were distributed to judges in British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba in 2006, replicating a survey held in Ontario, in 2002. The findings from the survey demonstrated that although VIS are entered in only a relatively small percentage of sentencing hearings, judges report that they are a useful source of information at sentencing. Judges in all four jurisdictions reported an increase in the number of VIS submitted. One of the challenges identified by the judges was the difficulty in ascertaining if a VIS had been submitted. An important finding was that judges often refer to the VIS in their reasons for sentence. Another finding from the surveys was that while variability emerged across the jurisdictions in response to some questions there was generally considerable consensus.
Keywords Victim impact statements; VIS; sentencing; judges
Topic Victim impact statements