Victim Impact Statements in child sexual assault cases: a restorative role or restrained rhetoric?


Author(s)Shackel, Rita
Title Victim Impact Statements in child sexual assault cases: a restorative role or restrained rhetoric?
Source UNSW Law Journal,Vol 34(1), 2011, pp 211-249
Date 2011
Document type Journal article
Coverage Australia
Summary In this article the author provides a comprehensive discussion of the use of Victim Impact Statements (VIS) in child sexual assault cases. The role of VIS in child sexual assault trials is examined, through looking at the rights of a child victim of crime, the reception of a VIS in the Court and how the VIS might affect sentencing decisions. As part of her study the author undertook a detailed analysis of a sample of VISs in case files from the NSW ODPP. A number of themes were identified in the VISs which showed the multiplicity of impacts that followed on from sexual victimisation. These seven themes included the impact of the sexual assault on family and other relationships, the impact on the victim's education  and the victim's subsequent relationship with the accused. The author concludes by suggesting there is a need for streamlining the use of VISs in Australia, and preparing a legal framework detailing provisions regulating the form, content and tendering in the Court, with a special emphasis on child victims.
Keywords Victim Impact Statements; VIS; child sexual assault; sentencing
Topic Victim impact statements