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What should you include in a victim impact letter?

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Quick Answer

A victim impact letter might include details of any physical and emotional damage of the victim and his family caused by the crime, details on any financial losses as a result of the crime and any information on medical or psychological treatments received by the victim or his family, informs The National Center for Victims of Crime. In certain states, a victim impact letter may also contain the victim's opinion on the crime and an appropriate sentence.

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Though a victim may express his views of the offender and on an appropriate sentence, it is important not to directly express blame towards the offender in the letter, suggests Victim Support Services. The letter should not contain any descriptions of ill intentions towards the offender, such as the victim wishing physical harm upon the offender in prison. Instead, the victim should speak of his experiences and losses since the crime. When writing a victim impact letter, it may help for the victim to answer the question of how the crime changed or affected his life or the life of his family.

The purpose of a victim impact letter is to give victims of crime the chance to inform the court or parole board of the crime's impact and provide information that might otherwise be unavailable to the court or parole board, explains The National Center for Victims of Crime.

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