Victim Impact Statements

A Victim Impact Statement gives the victim an opportunity to provide information for the judge to consider at sentencing, and allows the victim to express the pain, anguish and financial devastation the crime has caused. Victims have little opportunity to communicate how the crime affected them to judges and other criminal justice system personnel during the criminal and juvenile justice processes. A Victim Impact Statement provides the court with information which leads to appropriate sentences and suitable restitution, as well as makes the offender aware of the harm they have caused to the victim.

How is the statement presented? According to law, the victim determines how the statement should be presented at the sentencing or disposition hearing. They may choose to:

  • Present the statement in written form
  • Present the statement orally to the court
  • Request the prosecuting attorney or Victim Witness Specialist to orally present the statement for them

What can I include in my Victim Impact Statement:

  • The statement should be directed to the court, not the offender
  • A brief summary of the harm or trauma suffered by the victim as a result of the crime
  • A summary of the financial loss or damage suffered by the victim as a result of the crime
  • The victim’s reactions or objections to the proposed sentence
  • A short statement of what outcome the victim would like and their reasons, including support for or opposition to jail, prison, work release privileges, treatment, or community service programs
  • Highlights about the victim, such as past accomplishments, hopes for the future and how the crime has affected these activities
  • The overall effect the incident has had on the victim and family
  • Do not repeat facts already presented

Consider the following facts when writing or speaking to the court: 

  • The physical injuries - temporary or permanent
  • The medical or dental treatment required and any surgery, on-going therapy, etc.
  • Emotional/ psychological injuries suffered and outlook for future treatment
  • Loss of ability to work and lost wages
  • Change in lifestyle (ability to work, play, drive, forced relocation)
  • Impact on family members
  • Pain and emotional trauma (anxiety, nightmares, desperation)
  • Your feelings about people who commit crime
  • Effect of crime on family members, loss of hopes, dreams, companionship, financial security
  • Your accomplishments, awards and activities (photos may be helpful)

Printable brochure from the Minnesota Office of Justice Programs (PDF)