Victims of crime and their families have the right to participate, and to be heard in the criminal justice system through the use of Victim Impact Statements. A Victim Impact Statement grants the victim an opportunity to provide information for the judge to consider at sentencing, and allows the victim to articulate the pain, anguish, and financial devastation the crime has caused the victim and their family.
Making a “Victim Impact Statement”
Under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 258B, section 3(p) as a victim of a crime you have the right to offer a verbal or written statement to the court after the defendant has been found guilty at trial or has admitted to sufficient facts. This statement is referred to as a “Victim Impact Statement”
A Victim Impact Statement affords the victim with an opportunity to address the court prior to sentencing and provides the court with essential information including: the physical, emotional and/or financial impact the crime has had on you, which leads to appropriate sentences and suitable restitution.
A Victim Impact Statement can be written or oral and can be offered to the court by the victim, a family member or the Assistant District Attorney
You should know that even if you choose not to make a victim impact statement the Assistant District Attorney handling the case will make a sentencing recommendation. They will consider, amongst other things, your feelings about the case. For that reason, the Assistant District Attorney or Victim Assistance Advocate will be contacting you about your feelings regarding the pending case.
Questions about how to prepare a victim impact statement or about the time and place of sentencing should be addressed to the advocate or prosecutor.