Delivering a Victim Impact Statement: emotionally effective or counter-productive?

Author(s) Lens, Kim ME, Antony Pemberton, Karen Brans, Johan Braeken, Stefan Bogaerts & Esmah Lahiah
Title Delivering a Victim Impact Statement: emotionally effective or counter-productive?
Source European Journal of Criminology, Jan 2015, Vol. 12, No. 1, pp. 17-34
Date 2015
Document type Journal article
Coverage The Netherlands
Summary The study focuses on  the deliverance of Victim Impact Statements and the impact it has on the victims emotional recovery, although previous research usually focuses on whether or not Victim Impact Statements 'work' or 'don't work,' this study aims to look at who victim impact statements work for and under which conditions. The present study consists of longitudinal study of 170 victims recruited through the Dutch Prosecution Service. The victims chose themselves whether or not they would deliver a victim impact statement and whether it would be written or oral. The authors proposed four different hypotheses concerning selection effects, therapeutic effects, control and procedural justice. The results showed that by delivering a victim impact statement, there were no direct therapeutic effects; however there was a documented decrease in anger and anxiety for victims who felt they had more control over their own recovery process. Further research is recommended for long term effects of delivering a VIS.
Keywords Emotional recovery; therapeutic justice; procedural justice; Victim Impact Statement; victim participation; VIS
Topic Victim Impact Statement