Is three really a crowd? Evaluating the use of victim impact statements under New Zealand's revamped sentencing regime

Author(s)Sankoff Peter
Title Is three really a crowd? Evaluating the use of victim impact statements under New Zealand's revamped sentencing regime
Source New Zealand Law Review (3) 2007 459-498
Date 2007
Document type Journal article
Coverage New Zealand
Summary This article examines the use of victim impact statements (VIS) and discusses the role of the victim in the criminal justice system. Although there has been significant legislative reform regarding VIS in New Zealand, the author suggests that vague wording in the legislation allowed judges considerable leeway in how to accept VIS and a sizeable jurisprudence established strict legal guidelines about the type of information permissible. The author discusses the information model of VIS and the victim satisfaction model. The challenge for the criminal justice system is to accommodate victims speaking in their own words, maximising the benefit to the victim, while still preserving the values required by a public interest oriented system of justice. To do this there needs to be a change in philosophy where victim satisfaction is regarded as a legitimate purpose of the sentencing process.
Keywords Victim impact statements; criminal justice; restorative justice; victim satisfaction
Topic Victim impact statements