Antidotes to injustice? Victim statements on victims' sense of security

Author(s)De Mesmaecker, Vicky
Title Antidotes to injustice? Victim statements' impact on victims' sense of security
Source International Review of Victimology,2012, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp 133-153
Date 2012
Document type Journal article
Summary A review of the literature regarding the use of victim impact statements reveals a number of concerns that victims have when deciding whether to submit a statement. This article explores these concerns and examines whether victim statements are achieving their goals. Four aspects of the use of victim impact statements are considered by the author as confusing to the victim. These are the preparation of the statement, the access of the defendant, the presentation of the statement in court and misunderstandings about the purpose of the statements. Comparing different jurisdictions it is found that not all victims write their own victim statement, and in some jurisdictions and it may be drafted by the police, or judicial authority or a victim support worker after conversation with the victim. The extent the offender has access also varies across jurisdictions. In New South Wales the offender can read the victim statement but not keep a copy and in Canada, for example, the offender receives a copy. The author concludes by recommending good preparation practices to deal with the concerns that have been identified in the research literature.
Keywords Victim impact statements; VIS; court preparation; victim protection ;
Topic Victim impact statements