Addressing victims' harm: the role of impact reports

Author(s)Van der Merwe, Annette
Title Addressing victims' harm: the role of impact reports
Source Thomas Jefferson Law Review, 2008, Vol 30:39
Date 2008
Document type Journal article
Coverage South Africa
Summary This article discusses the use of victim impact statements (VIS) in South Africa for cases involving the sexual assault of children under 16 years, or in cases of gang rape. A detailed case study is presented where two children were assisted by a social worker in preparing a victim impact statement. The VIS was effectively utilised in the sentencing process and the statement also drew attention to the need for counselling services for the children, which was supported by the judge. VIS in South Africa have the power to make the court aware of the extent of the victims' suffering and the need for enhanced victim services. One of the main problems with the use of VIS in sentencing is the lack of properly trained counsellors and impoverished victims.
Keywords Victim impact statements; child sexual assault; sentencing
Topic Victim impact statements