Gender, emotionality, and victim impact statements 

Author(s)Peace, Kristine A., and Deanna L. Forrester
Title Gender, emotionality, and victim impact statements
Source Journal of Criminal Psychology,2012, Vol. 2, issue 2, pp 107-120
Date 2012
Document type Journal article
Coverage Canada
Summary In this study the authors explore the influence of Victim Impact Statement (VIS) on sentencing decisions and whether any effects are moderated by emotion and gender variables. Canadian undergraduate students were recruited for the study and provided with case information sheets, VIS, sentencing decision forms, a legal attitudes scale and questionnaire measure of emotional empathy. It was found that for 54.1 per cent of the sample the VIS did not influence their sentencing decision. One finding from the study was a trend towards greater punishment severity when the VIS was written by a female. Analysis of the data also showed that VIS were generally rated as more credible when both the victim and the statement provider were male, compared to those provided by females. Overall the study indicated that interpretations of VIS depend on the gender of the judge or juror, the victim and statement provider, as well as the level of emotional content in the report, and female participants demonstrated higher levels of empathy and perceived more emotionality and credibility in the VIS than males.
Keywords Victim impact statement; VIS; emotion; gender; sentencing
Topic Victim impact statements