Victim’s Impact Statement

Once the DA offered the plea bargain, we were advised that we would have an opportunity to let the judge know how this crime impacted our family. My daughter had the option of speaking publicly in court or writing a letter to the judge. We too, as parents, were given the option of speaking in court or sending a written statement to the judge.

The original purpose of the Victim’s Impact Statement was to help the judge understand the extent to which the victim and the family was affected by the crime. Often times the judge may take the statements into consideration when determining the criminal’s sentence.  One can only hope that the judge is not desensitized by the constant exposure to pain and violence, and he/she is able to tap into the raw emotions that are often expressed in these statements and worn on the sleeves of those who give the statement.  However, when a plea bargain has been reached, the jail/prison sentence is already set. So, barring the judge’s discretion to reject the deal, the statements are more of a formality and opportunity for closure for the victim and their family.

Never the less, we encourage victims and their families to take this opportunity to have their voices heard. It can be very therapeutic. And, even if the victim has someone read their statement aloud in court on their behalf, it can be very cleansing to know you have addressed your abuser and spoke your truth….

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