Victim Impact Statements

Information taken from Lisa Madigan, Illinois Attorney General www.IllinoisAttorney General.gov

What is a Victim Impact Statement and how is it used?

As the victim of a violent crime, you have the opportunity to use a Victim Impact Statement to describe how the crime affected you and others close to you.  This statement has space for you to write about the physical, emotional, and financial effects of the crime.  If the defendant pleads guilty or is found guilty after trial, your impact statement will help the judge understand how the crime has affected you and those close to you.

Submitting a Victim Impact Statement is Voluntary

You do not have to fill out a Victim Impact Statement.  However, it may be helpful to the judge in deciding what punishment the defendant should receive and any money the defendant may have to pay to you as restitution.

Exercising your legal right to submit a Victim Impact Statement

The Crime Victim Bill of Rights and the Illinois Constitution give you a legal right to submit a Victim Impact Statement.  Talk to the prosecutor about submitting a Victim Impact Statement as soon as possible.

Request to submit a Victim Impact Statement in writing to the State’s Attorney of the county in which the case is being prosecuted.  The State’s Attorney has a duty under the law to assist you with a Victim Impact Statement if you make this request in writing.  Even if you decide not to submit a statement, it is important to have the option and discuss it with the prosecutor.

Telling the Judge Your Story

According to an American Bar Association study, 70 percent of judges find information contained in Victim Impact Statements useful in determining appropriate sentences and fair restitution orders.

Providing a Full Picture of the Crime through a Victim Impact Statement

Often, the crime to which the offender was sentenced differs from the crime that actually occurred as a result of plea negotiations.  Victim Impact Statements can paint a complete picture of the actual crime.  Submitting a Victim Impact Statement to paroling authorities also allows victims to update the emotional, physical, and financial effects of the crime which may not have been known at the time of sentencing.

Suggestions for Completing your Victim Impact Statement

  • Organize your statement, by the emotional, physical, and financial effects of the crime.  When drafting your statement, remember to do the following:
  • Describe how the crime has affected your lifestyle and those close to you.
  • If you or your family member(s) were injured, write about the physical or emotional impact of the crime.
  • Describe the physical or emotional injuries you or members of your family have suffered.
  • Describe any medical treatment you have received or expect to receive in the future.
  • Discuss how the crime affected your ability to earn a living and how it has affected you financially.
  • Be complete in describing your financial loses, because this information may be used for determining restitution.  Restitution is the possible payment by the defendant to you for any financial losses you may have suffered as a result of this crime.
  • Write a rough draft before completing the final statement.

If you need assistance in completing your Victim Impact Statement, please feel free to contact CAISA, SACIS or the Crime Victim Services Division of the Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-228-3368