Q:

What are victim impact statements?

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Quick Answer

During the sentencing process of a crime, the victim is allowed to read or speak an impact statement about how the crime affected them personally. All 50 states currently allow for these statements to be introduced before sentencing.

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Full Answer

Victim statements may include descriptions of physical, emotional, financial, medical and other consequences of a crime. These statements allow the victims of crimes to add their voice to the proceedings in order to impact the judge or board responsible for making decisions about sentencing. Judges may listen to the impact statements in order to figure out how long someone should go to jail. A parole board might take the statements into account before deciding whether a criminal should be released, and what conditions the board should attach to their release. Besides affecting sentencing, according to the website Victims of Crime, victim impact statements are often useful to victims because they can be cathartic. After all, during the trial, the victims usually have a very limited ability to talk at all about their side of the story. Lawyers ask very narrow questions, and the victim’s opinions aren’t taken into account. Having a chance to read their side in open court can often be a crucial part of the psychological process of healing from any type of crime.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How are victim impact statements used?

    A:

    Judges in criminal cases use victim impact statements to help determine an appropriate prison sentence for an offender, according to The National Center for Victims of Crime. Parole boards use victim impact statements to help decide whether to grant a parole.

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  • Q:

    Where can you find examples of victim impact statements?

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    Examples of victim impact statements are available at victimsupportservices.org and the City of Baltimore at crime.baltimorecity.gov. Both websites also offer some insight as to what goes into a victim impact statement.

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    What are simple assault charges?

    A:

    Simple assault charges are usually misdemeanor criminal charges filed against a person accused of an assault that resulted in minor or no injury to the victim. State laws vary, but often simple assault can be anything that causes a person to fear imminent bodily harm.

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    How do you report Social Security fraud?

    A:

    To report Social Security fraud, an individual must contact the Social Security Administration's Office of the Inspector General, fill out a fraud allegation and provide details about the potential suspect or victim, notes the official website of the Office of the Inspector General. Individuals reporting fraud may remain anonymous.

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