A victim impact statement is a written or oral statement presented to the court at the defendant’s sentencing.

Victims or survivors have a legal right to inform the judge about how the crime has affected their lives and can ask that a defendant receive a particular sentence.

For many people, standing in front of a courtroom reading a statement is an intimidating task.

Our victim advocates, deputy district attorneys, your friends, and your family will be with you, supporting you. You will not be alone.


As you are preparing your impact statement, you will want to ensure it contains the following elements:

  • The physical and emotional impact the crime had on you and your family.
  • The psychological effects on you and your family.
  • The financial burden or hardship you and your family have endured.
  • The explanation of medical and psychological treatment you needed because of the crime.
  • The importance of restitution.
  • Your opinion or suggestion on the sentence given.

No two victim impact statements are the same. You are not required to follow a particular format; however, using the key points listed above will help deliver a solid message to the defendant and the court.


As much as it will feel good to write vindictive words or speak what your heart feels in court, a calm, determined, practical and direct victim impact statement will have a more significant effect on all who read and listen.

Do not include derogatory or foul language in your statement, or hopes for harm to come to the defendant or his family, in life or prison. Keep the focus on the impact to you and your family, not his or her (the defendant).


Remember, you are reading this statement to the judge. Therefore, it must be respectful, understandable, and relatable to him or her sitting on the bench. Do not write the statement as if you are speaking to the defendant. For example:

You took away my belief that people are good.

The defendant took away my belief that people are good.


Though we can give you several tips and you can rehearse many times, as humans, we can be easily overcome with emotion at critical times in our lives. With that being said, please try to remember these two vital points:

  • Stay focused on reading to the judge, tuning everything out.
  • Speak with confidence and clarity.

If you do not feel you can read the statement, speak with your victim advocate, who can help you find an alternative.


These sample impact statements are provided to you as an example of what a statement should contain. Feel free to use it as a guide in writing your own statement.


(Written from the perspective of an eight year-old child abuse victim)

I miss my dad but I want him to get better. Him getting mad was scary. Most of the time he would yell or slap me. I tried to be good but maybe not enough. I didn’t put my toys away fast enough and he hurt me worse. I didn’t want my friends to see my bruises, but I wanted to go to school. Sometimes I’m not happy people found out. Other times I’m happy I don’t have to be scared. Living with mom now has been ok but I want dad to get help being nicer. I miss my dad. Thank you Judge for hearing me.


(Written from the perspective of a driver hit by a DUI driver)

On January 5th, my world was instantly turned upside down, on this day as I traveled home from a long workday when I was suddenly hit from behind in my vehicle while sitting at a red light. As I sat motionless with blood running down my face, I had never felt so alone and afraid in my whole life. I can remember someone at my window trying to help, asking if I was ok and I just sat there frozen. Once at the hospital after being treated for a broken nose, burns and abrasions to my face, reality started to sink in. My car was totaled, I had injuries that would have to live with the rest of my life and none of this was my fault. All I was trying to do, was get home.

I was told by the police officer that the person who hit me was driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, had no driver license or insurance. I immediately became extremely upset because now I am left with all this chaos because of the careless, selfish, and reckless actions of someone who decided they would get behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated. As a result of his actions, I was forced to endure the consequences that would affect my family and I for the years to follow.

I am a single mother with two small children who relied on me to take them to school. But now that my car was totaled, I had no way of getting them to school. I only had liability insurance, so I had no way of getting my car repaired or replaced and because the defendant didn’t have any insurance I was let with a situation where I have no car. I also still have medical bills that I am still trying to pay off. The worse part is I had only been at my job for 2 months and my medical benefits had not kicked in yet. Thus, not only am I without a car, I have no way to pay my medical bills or pay for medication prescribed by the doctor.

This incident has caused me an enormous amount of pain and suffering that I did not ask for. My children have suffered and continue to suffer because I can’t get them to school every day. Due to being off work for my injuries, there is not enough money for our basic needs, all of this because of a stupid irresponsible decision of someone who obviously has some serious problems.

I am asking for restitution to pay for all the damage and I am also asking that the court to require the defendant to take Alcohol and Drug classes to get some help for your addiction. I think community service and anything that will help the defendant understand how his actions have caused someone else a tremendous amount of pain. My hope is that all these things will deter him from ever getting behind the wheel of a vehicle loaded and drunk again. Thank you for your time your honor.

Jane Doe


(Written from the perspective of the mother of a homicide victim)

When I was asked if I wanted to write a Victim Impact Statement, I wondered if I would be able to put into words how this traumatic incident has impacted my life and as I am battling with my emotions to write these words I am determined to maybe just express a portion of how this has changed my life. On 02/20/2020 I received the call no parent wants to receive and that was the call to inform me my son was dead, I could literally feel my heart break, the pain was so intense that I could not speak or move, it was like the world was at a standstill. If I had to describe what it feels like to be paralyzed this would definitely be it, I cant even cry, I want to scream but no words would come out, the pain was too deep all I could do is stare and wish and beg God to wake me up from this horrible nightmare.

My son was taken away from me through an act of violence, a cowardly act. Although the defendant took my son away from me physically, he doesn’t have the power to take away the love and memories that I hold dearly in my heart. My son was my everything, I love him with every ounce of my being. He made my heart smile whenever he walked into the room, he made me proud to be his mother because of the man he had become. The defendant can never erase those memories. I don’t know if the defendant has ever experienced that type of love, I can only assume that he hasn’t and probably never will.

Earlier I mentioned it was a cowardly act because yes it was, anytime you must shoot someone that is not imposing any kind of threat over you, to me is a cowardly act. My son was a good man, a man with integrity and respect for mankind he never hurt or brought harm to anyone and to have his life taken away by such a coward is just senseless to me. Our lives will never be the same, the pain has impacted us in a way that some might think we should carry hatred in our heart but instead we carry pity, pity for the defendant and those who know defendant because he is indeed a coward.

I say all this your honor, so you can take this into consideration when making your sentencing decision. The jury has already reached their verdict and found him guilty. My family is now pleading with you to throw the books at him. The defendant had no regard for my son’s life. He deserves no mercy and his actions warrant the maximum sentence of 15 yrs. in prison. His criminal history speaks to that.

I would like to thank the court for allowing me to express a portion of my pain. I pray that God has mercy on your soul.


A heartbroken mother


(Written from the perspective of the mother of a rape victim)

Your Honor,

I want to thank you for taking the time to listen to my statement today. I am having my victim advocate read this today because I didn’t think I would be able to get through the statement without breaking down. Two years ago, that wouldn’t have been the case. I used to be able to speak in front of crowds and carried my head up high. I used to be a fun and easy going. Someone who would break out in dance moves to make some laugh. I used to generally love life. The defendant took that away from me. I feel like that light that use to shine so bright inside me, is now nonexistent. I sometimes feel like a zombie just going through life on autopilot.

I am continually looking over my shoulder and scared to leave the house alone. The idea of suicide had never crossed my mind before I was raped. But I can’t say that anymore. The months following my assault were a very dark and scary place. I couldn’t get out of bed most mornings. I was in my last year of college and had to drop out.

There are no words to accurately explain to you how this assault has forever changed my life. As a result of the assault, intimacy is still very difficult for me. Even after years of therapy I am unable to be with a man without having vivid flash backs. There are times I still feel the defendant’s arms around my neck. I suffer from chronic panic attacks. I want nothing more than to just be normal again. I will have to live with this the rest of my life.

There is no doubt in my mind that this man will rape another innocent girl if given the chance. People like this don’t just rape one person and stop. I also doubt I was the first victim and would have been the last, if I wouldn’t have report this. That is why the 290 registration was so important to me. The only reason I came forward and report the crime was so I could hopefully prevent it from happening to someone else.

I will not let this defendant have any power over my life anymore. I will come out of this whole experience a stronger woman. I will walk out of this court room with my head held up high.

Thank you,

Jane Doe


A statement is most effective when coming from those directly affected by the actions of the defendant. This can be a difficult task, and we understand the emotional toll it can have on someone.

Please reach out to your victim advocate who will help you write the statement. Some times, taking your thoughts and putting pen to paper is a tough thing to do. We’ll help you through it.


Preparing and presenting an impact statement in court can be intimidating. If you do not think you can physically stand in front of the offender and read your statement, another family member or friend, a victim advocate or the deputy district attorney can read your statement for you.

If you submit a letter, this will become part of the court file, the prosecutor’s file and the defense file. Victim impact statements can also be included in the offender’s department of corrections and rehabilitation file.

It is not mandatory you write an impact statement. It is a right you have but not one that you have to participate in. There are several reasons why Victim Impact Statements are beneficial. The reasons stated below are just a few.

The judge gets to hear your side of the story. This is usually the first time this occurs. Throughout the criminal justice process, the focus is on the offender. Hearing from those that are affected by the crime puts a face with an often forgotten victim

You have the opportunity to address the court, and the offender by way of the court, about how the crime has affected you. Many find this helpful in the journey of victimization. Letting those know how they harmed you can be beneficial for emotional well-being.




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