Victim Impact Statements
Under Pennsylvania’s Victims Bill of Rights there are several opportunities for victims, their family members and significant others to tell the court the impact that the crime has had on them as well as the impact of any decision that the court may be making concerning the offenders including the following:
1. For all victims of crime: At the time of a sentencing decision regarding an adult offender or the disposition of a delinquent child or when a judicial or Department of Corrections recommendation is made that the defendant participate in a motivational boot camp.
2. Additionally, for victims of personal injury crimes: When an offender is considered for release from a state prison. Releases include: work release, furlough, parole, pardon or community treatment center placement.
3. Personal injury crime/ burglary crime victims may also offer comment on the potential reduction or dropping of charges or any changes of a plea in a criminal or delinquency proceeding, diversion of a case, including an informal adjustment or a consent decree.
4. Victims of personal injury crime committed by a juvenile have the additional opportunity to submit a written objection prior to the transfer or release from a placement facility of a juvenile who has been adjudicated delinquent when such action is contrary to a previous court order or placement plan approved at a disposition review hearing and to submit written comments and oral testimony at a disposition review hearing.
Most of the time, you have the choice of presenting a written or oral impact statement, however, CVC suggests that any time you are preparing a Victim Impact Statement, you put your thoughts on paper. Writing your thoughts down assists you in organizing your thoughts and also ensures that you do not forget anything you want to say.
When preparing a Victim Impact Statement you should address the following, if they apply:
• How did the crime affect you and your family?
• What was the emotional impact of the crime?
• What was the financial impact of the crime?
• What was the physical impact of the crime?
• What do you want to happen now?
• Do you have a recommendation for what the sentence should be and/or where the offender should perform community service?
• Is there anything else you would like to tell the court/ agency?
The decision whether to give a Victim Impact Statement is each individual’s decision. Impact Statements provide victims, their family members and/or significant others with a voice that should be heard by courts as well as by probation, parole and corrections officials. CVC Advocates are available to assist victims, their family members and significant others prepare Victim Impact Statements and to understand when and how an Impact Statement can be offered. CVC has impact statement forms tailored to children of all ages. Contact CVC to receive assistance with Victim Impact Statements by calling CVC’s 24-hour hotlines, 610-692-7420 or 610-692-7273, and asking to speak to a CVC Advocate.