Preparing a Victim Impact Statement
If you are a victim of a crime and someone has been charged, you may wish to prepare a victim impact statement to describe the harm or loss you suffered because of the offence. Victim Services staff will help you prepare your statement and file it with the clerk of the court to be used during sentencing if the accused is found guilty.
What information is included in a victim impact statement?
Your statement describes how the offence has impacted you including physical or emotional harm, property damage or economic loss.
Your victim impact statement:
- Must be written in your own words;
- Is directed to the judge, not the offender;
- Refers only to the offence(s) for which the accused person has been charged;
- States only the impact of the crime on you, not what happened or the facts of the case.
Your victim impact statement must not include any:
- Statement about the offence or the offender that is not relevant to your harm or loss;
- Unproven allegations;
- Comments about any offence for which the offender was not convicted;
- Comments or criticisms about the offender’s character;
- Complaint about any individual, other than the offender, who was involved in the investigation or prosecution of the offence; or
- Opinion or recommendation about the sentence, except with the court's approval.
What if I want to add information after the statement is filed?
If you wish to add information to your victim impact statement after it has been filed with the court, contact Victim Services to request that new information be prepared and filed.
How is a victim impact statement used in court?
The clerk of the court will keep your statement in a sealed envelope and it will not be opened unless the accused person is found guilty of the offence to which the statement relates.
- If the accused person is found not guilty, the judge will not read your victim impact statement.
- If an accused person pleads guilty or is found guilty after a trial, the judge, the crown attorney, the offender, and his or her counsel will receive copies of your victim impact statement. If a pre‑sentence report is ordered, Probation Services will also receive a copy of the victim impact statement.
The judge will consider the victim impact statement as one of the factors in sentencing.
Is my victim impact statement confidential?
When the court has considered a victim impact statement, it is no longer confidential. After sentencing, it becomes part of the court file and public information. As such, the public including the media, will be able to see and refer to your victim impact statement at that point.
After sentencing, the appropriate correctional authority will receive a copy of your victim impact statement for use in dealing with the offender.
Will I have to present my victim impact statement in court?
Copies of your written statement will be distributed to the judge, crown attorney, the offender, and his or her counsel.
You may read aloud the victim impact statement you prepared and filed with the court or you may be permitted to present the statement in any other manner that the judge considers appropriate. Discuss your presentation options with Victim Services before your victim impact statement is typed.
If the offender or the offender’s lawyer disagrees with the contents of your victim impact statement, you may be called upon to testify at the sentencing hearing.
How do I get help preparing a victim impact statement?
Contact Victim Services in your area:
Victim Services: Queens and Kings County
1 Harbourside Access Road
PO Box 2000
Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
Telephone: (902) 368‑4582
Victim Services: Prince County
263 Heather Moyse Drive
Suite 19, 2nd Floor
Summerside, PE C1N 5P1
Telephone: (902) 888‑8218