Basic Information about Victim Impact Statements
What is a victim impact statement (VIS)?
Section 722 of the Criminal Code of Canada provides victims of crime with an opportunity to describe in writing to the court how the crime has affected their lives. A victim impact statement is a written statement in the victim’s own words that describes:
- How the victim’s life has been affected by being a victim of the offence
- What physical or emotional losses or impacts have been experienced as a result of the offence
- If charges are laid and the accused person is found guilty, the victim impact statement will be considered by the Court before sentencing.
Purpose of a Victim Impact Statement
For the victim:
Provides a victim with an opportunity to state how his or her life has been affected by the crime, and any physical and emotional loss experienced as a result of the crime.
For the Court:
Assists the Court and the offender to understand how the crime has affected the victim’s life.
Who can prepare a victim impact statement?
A victim of any crime where an offender has been charged may prepare a victim impact statement. For the purposes of a victim impact statement, a ‘victim’ is a person to whom harm was done or who suffered physical or emotional loss as a result of the offence.