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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 119482 Find in a Library
Title: Victim Impact Statements: A Monograph
Author(s): S Wallace
Corporate Author: New Zealand Dept of Justice
Policy and Research Division
New Zealand
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 23
Sponsoring Agency: New Zealand Dept of Justice
Wellington, New Zealand
Type: Program Description (Model)
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: New Zealand
Annotation: Research conducted in New Zealand under the Victims of Offenses Act of 1987 found widespread general support for the concept of victim impact statements, as well as several areas where firmer guidelines may be needed.
Abstract: Under the law the sentencing judge is to be informed about any physical and emotional harm, property loss or damage, and any other effects suffered by the victim as a result of the offense, through a written or oral statement. Information provided by 131 criminal justice professionals and victims in four courts revealed wide variations in the current procedures for preparing and presentation of victim impact statements. Such statements tend to be prepared mainly for assaults, cases of domestic violence, and sexual offenses. Study participants identified three main purposes of a statement: to provide the court with further information, to help empower the victim and aid in the healing process, and to help the offender. Issues include who should prepare the statement, the procedures, the handling of special categories of victims, types of cases involved, timing, the presentation in court, confidentiality, challenges by offenders, the statement's role in sentencing, and the relationship of the statement with probation. Efforts to address these issues should focus on ensuring that these statements work for, rather than against, the interests of victims.
Main Term(s): Victim impact statements
Index Term(s): New Zealand; Sentencing factors
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