Victim Impact Statement
What is a Victim Impact Statement?
Under provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada and the Youth Criminal Justice Act, a Victim Impact Statement allows you to express in writing to a Judge how being a victim of crime has affected you and those close to you.
The purpose of the Victim Impact Statement is to describe how the crime has affected you emotionally and physically and the effect it has had on your life. If charges are laid, and if the accused person is found guilty, your Victim Impact Statement will be considered by the Judge during sentencing.
Who may prepare a Victim Impact Statement?
Anyone who is a victim of a crime may prepare a Victim Impact Statement. In a case where the victim has died or is not capable of preparing a Victim Impact Statement, the Victim Impact Statement may be prepared by a spouse or relative.
Do I have to prepare a Victim Impact Statement?
No. Your decision to prepare a Victim Impact Statement is a voluntary one. It provides you with an opportunity to participate in the criminal justice system by describing how the offence has affected you and those close to you.
Why should I prepare a Victim Impact Statement?
The Victim Impact Statement provides you with an opportunity to describe how you have been affected by the crime.
For the Court
If a charge is laid and the accused person is found guilty, your Victim Impact Statement will be considered by the Judge at the time of sentencing. Your Victim Impact Statement will help the Court understand how the crime has affected you emotionally and physically and the effect the crime had on your life.
How and when will my Victim Impact Statement be used?
After a finding of guilt, before sentencing
After a finding of guilt and before the offender is sentenced, your Victim Impact Statement will be provided to the Court. The Victim Impact Statement will be considered by the Judge at the time the offender is sentenced. The Judge, the Crown prosecutor, the defense lawyer and the offender will receive copies of your Victim Impact Statement. At the sentencing hearing, you may be cross-examined on the contents of your Victim Impact Statement.
Please note that sentencing can occur at any time
For example, if an accused person pleads guilty, sentencing could occur on short notice. In order for a Victim Impact Statement to be considered in these circumstances, it should be at the courthouse as soon as possible.
If the offender is sentenced to probation or jail, your Victim Impact Statement will be provided to provincial or federal correctional authorities and the National Parole Board. You may also be able to read your Victim Impact Statement at National Parole Board hearings. If you require further information, contact the National Parole Board toll-free at 1-888-616-5277.
If the accused person is found "not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder," your Victim Impact Statement will be provided to the Alberta Review Board. The Board may allow you to present your Victim Impact Statement in person. It can also take steps to protect your identity.
How do I prepare the Victim Impact Statement?
Victim Impact Statement forms are available from Police and Victim Service Units. The Victim Impact Statement is to be written in your own words and describe how you have been affected by the crime.
What is appropriate to include in a Victim Impact Statement?
- How the crime has affected your mind
- How the crime has affected your body
- How the crime has affected you financially
- Fears for your safety
- You can draw a picture, write a poem or a letter to include in your statement if it helps you express the impact the crime has had on you
- You can read your statement in the presence of a support person that you choose and have a picture with you that was taken before the crime.
What is NOT appropriate to include in a Victim Impact Statement?
- Anything about the crime or the offender that isn't about how you were harmed
- Anything that hasn't been proven in court
- Anything about a crime where the offender wasn't found guilty
- Anything about anyone who was part of the investigation or prosecution (police, court workers, lawyers)
- You can't give your opinion about the sentence, unless asked to by the court
- Any information you don't want the offender or the public to know
If your Victim Impact Statement contains any of the above, the Court may disregard it.
For more information visit the Government of Alberta Website
Community Impact Statement
A Community Impact Statement gives your community a chance to tell the court how it has been affected by a crime. Contact your local victim services unit if you have any questions about submitting your community impact statement.
Restitution is a way for the offender to repay you if you have lost money, property or had extra expenses because of a crime. You have the right to have the court consider ordering restitution.
For more information visit the Government of Alberta Website
Inquiries about the Financial Benefits Program and requests for application forms may be addressed to:
Alberta Solicitor General & Public Security Victims Programs
10th Floor, J.E. Brownlee Building
10365 - 97 Street
Edmonton AB T5J 3W7
Toll-free through Service Alberta:
dial 310-0000 and then ask for the above number
What are financial benefits?
The Financial Benefits Program recognizes or acknowledges victims who were injured as a direct result of a violent crime in Alberta. It provides direct assistance with a one-time financial benefit based on the severity of the victim's injuries. The benefit amount is set in the regulation to the Act.
Are costs and losses paid?
No. The Financial Benefits Program does not pay compensation for costs or losses. For example, it does not cover property damage, medical expenses, loss of wages or pain and suffering. Victims may seek restitution or take civil action for the recovery of costs or losses from the offender. Information on these processes may be obtained by contacting your nearest victim services program or police service. Information is also available on the Alberta government web site for victims at www.victims.gov.ab.ca
The following are not eligible for benefits:
- individuals who are charged and convicted of an offence as a result of the incident
- secondary victims such as family members of the victim or witnesses to the crime
- victims of motor vehicle or property offenses, such as impaired driving or break and entry
Note: Alberta Justice may provide assistance to injury victims of motor vehicle crimes. Information about this program is available through the Alberta government web site or by calling Motor Vehicle Accident Claims at 780-427-8255.
How do I apply?
Application forms are available from the Financial Benefits Program, through local victim services programs associated with local police services or through the Government of Alberta web site. Although the form is available electronically through the web site, the program requires a paper application with original signatures to obtain the information necessary to verify the application.
What is the process?
In almost all cases, a completed application form is the only information you will need to submit. Financial Benefits Program staff will obtain any necessary police or medical records and reports to verify applications. All decisions on applications will be presented in writing.
How long does it take?
Timelines vary with each file depending on the information received. To speed up the process the applicant should ensure that the forms are signed in both places and include detailed information such as police file number, hospitals attended and doctor office contact information.
Is there a review process?
The Criminal Injuries Review Board is an appointed board with the authority to conduct independent reviews of the financial benefits decisions. The decision letter provided to applicants includes information on the review process.
For more information you can visit the Government of Alberta website