Making a victim impact statement
If the offender pleads guilty or is found guilty, the judge will consider your victim impact statement before sentencing them. You might be able to read your victim impact statement in court, or have someone read it for you.
You can read more about what a victim impact statement is and who can make one.
How to make a victim impact statement
The Ministry of Justice has published guidelines to help you prepare your victim impact statement:
- Victim impact statement guidelines – Adult Jurisdiction [PDF, 67 KB]
- Victim impact statement guidelines – Youth Justice [PDF, 52 KB]
The police officer in charge of your case or a support person (like Victim Support) can also help you make your victim impact statement
Presenting your victim impact statement in court
The judge will consider your victim impact statement when they sentence the offender. Victim impact statements are usually presented to the court in writing.
If the judge says you can, you can read all or part of your victim impact statement to the court. You can also ask someone to read it for you. If you want to do any of these things, let the prosecutor or your court victim advisor know as soon as possible. They will ask the judge for you.
If you are a victim of a serious crime the judge will almost always allow your victim impact statement to be read out in court.
Victim impact statements and sentencing
When sentencing an offender, the judge takes many things into account, including your victim impact statement, reports about the offender and sentences for similar cases.
The judge will not consider your victim impact statement if the offender is found not-guilty.
For more information see Sentencing.
After the court case is over, your victim impact statement becomes part of the official court file. A member of the public or a journalist can ask to read a court file after a court case is over, although the court might not always allow it.
If the judge speaks about your victim impact statement at the sentencing hearing, their comments will be made available to the media. Newspapers and other media cannot name sexual violence victims or child victims and defendants in their reports.