Victim Impact Statements
As the victim of a crime, you have the right to participate and be heard in the criminal justice system through the use of a victim impact statement. Victim impact statements provide you with an opportunity to address the court at the adult sentencing or juvenile disposition hearing to express the impact the crime has had on you and/or your family. Participating in the process may also aid you in your emotional recovery.
What to Include
Victim impact statements may include:
- A summary of the physical and/or psychological harm or trauma you have suffered as a result of the crime and any needed medical / dental interventions, whether 1 time or ongoing.
- A summary of the financial loss or damages you suffered as a result of the crime, including lost wages or ability to work, and a request for restitution for any out-of-pocket expenses.
- Your reaction or objections to the proposed sentence including jail / prison time, work release privileges and community service options, treatment programs, and/or conditions of probation.
- A statement of the type of outcome you would like and why.
- Highlights about you, including past accomplishments, hopes for the future and how the crime has impacted these activities.
- Changes in your lifestyle, such as ability to work, drive or forced relocation.
- The overall effect the crime has had on you or/and your family.
A victim impact statement can take the form of a letter. They may be typed or handwritten, but usually no longer than 2 pages in length. At the sentencing or dispositional hearing, the judge will ask the prosecutor whether the victim(s) wish to present a victim impact statement before sentencing the defendant. Victim impact statements can be presented either orally or in writing, depending on your preference. If you do not wish to stand up in court and give your statement, you can request that the prosecutor read your statement. Please be aware the defendant will have access to your statement.
What Not to Include
The victim impact statement should not include profanity or threats to the offender or court personnel. It is important to complete the statement, keep a personal copy and return the original to the Clay County Victim / Witness Program as soon as possible.
If you would like assistance in preparing your victim impact statement, please contact the Clay County Victim / Witness Program at 218-299-5035. Completed victim impact statements can be mailed to the following address:
Clay County Victim / Witness Program
807 11th Street N
Moorhead, MN 56560
The opportunity to give a victim impact statement is a fundamental crime victim right.