A victim impact statement is a statement that is written by the victim or family of the victim, and submitted to a court. This statement can have an impact on the court's decision when the sentencing for the offender is adjudicated. If the offender is able to address the victims, and show remorse, this maybe a chance to allow the offender an opportunity to apologize for those wrongs in court as the victim impact statements are being considered and read.
Victim Physical Injuries
The victim impact statement will allow the victim to make a statement as to the impact of the physical injuries that were sustained in the crime. The victim is permitted to discuss the nature of the physical injuries, describe the injuries in great detail and maybe even provide updates as to how the victim is recovering. The offender may have the opportunity to briefly mention the extent of the physical injuries and apologize for them, to show remorse for being responsible for these injuries to the victim.
Victim Psychological Effects and Treatments
The victim impact statement may also address any psychological effects and treatments undergone as a result of the accident or event with the offender. The victim is allowed to discuss the nature of any long-lasting psychological effects and treatments as a result of the criminal action of the offender. The offender has an opportunity to show empathy to the victim for these psychological and longer effects and treatments that the victim must now undergo, as a result of the offender's criminal actions.
Victim Life Changes
Victim statements mat address in detail any life changes that the victim has had to undergo, as a result of the offender's criminal action against the victim. These statements are the meat and potatoes of the victim statement, as it will review in a nutshell how the person's quality of life has been reduced to bottom of the barrel quality after the crime. There are many victims of criminal actions who never lead a normal life again, and who suffer greatly after a criminal action has been perpetrated against them.
It is fair to also say that some victims who are innocent victims of criminal acts are also not able to have normal relations with their families, loved ones, children, spouses, work and employment, friends, relatives, neighbors, community members and even with strangers again. The offender has an opportunity to show remorse here as well, and to sincerely apologize for his or her wrongs in this regard. Will it change anything for the victim? Probably not, but it does give closure to the victim that the offender truly understands the nature of his or her actions, and how it affected another human being in his or her community.
Victim Impact Statement Desired Outcomes
Victim statements are read in court for the main reason to help persuade the court to sentence the offender in a way to pay dearly for the crimes committed. The victim physical, emotional, psychological and other impacts to life changes are considered when the court makes the statement of final sentencing. It is the last chance for the victim to tell the court of the impact of the offender's actions on the innocent victim, and how detrimentally the criminal actions have changed the life of the victim in the process. The criminal actions of the offender have changed the offender's life too, and if the offender has the opportunity to sincerely apologize for the criminal acts, it may offer an opportunity for forgiveness (or not) from the victim, and for the offender him or herself.
If you have questions regarding offender statements and the impact of victim statements or any other California criminal law issue, get in touch with the Kann California Law Group in Los Angles, Santa Clarita, and Ventura today. Call us at 888-744-7730 or contact us by using our confidential contact form. Our attorneys are always available to talk.