The recognition by judicial officers of a victim’s experience and acknowledgment of the content of a victim impact statement sends a strong message to victims and the community about the role and rights of victims in the justice system.
Whist research suggests that victims generally have positive views about the value of victim impact statements; there are a number of factors which can affect their levels of satisfaction with the process of making a victim impact statement. These include: the extent to which they are aware of their right to make a victim impact statement; their understanding and expectations of the victim impact statement process (in particular how their victim impact statement will be used); whether they receive adequate information and support to prepare their victim impact statement; and how their victim impact statement is presented to, and judicially acknowledged by, the court.
Victims of crime often describe the experience of making a victim impact statement as empowering or therapeutic, particularly where the impact of the crime they had described in their victim impact statement was acknowledged by the sentencing judge or magistrate.
More information about the ACT Courts can be accessed via their website.