What is a victim impact statement?

Some sentencing hearings involve a Victim Impact Statement (VIS). A VIS is usually written by the victim. This is done to allow the victim an opportunity to describe how they have been affected by the criminal offence. It can be read aloud by the victim or Crown or simply filed with the court as an exhibit.

A person is considered a victim if harm has been done to them or they have suffered a physical or emotional loss because of a criminal offence.

If a VIS is made an exhibit and/or read aloud in court, the judge will consider it in sentencing the offender. In some cases, if the victim is in the courtroom, the judge will simply ask them to talk about how the case has affected him or her, even if a VIS hasn’t been prepared.