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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 139876 Find in a Library
Title: Study Probes Effectiveness of Victim Impact Statements
Journal: Justice Research Notes  Issue:1  Dated:(November 1990)  Pages:1-8
Author(s): C Giliberti
Date Published: 1990
Page Count: 8
Type: Program/Project Evaluation
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: Victim impact statement (VIS) projects, funded by Canada's Department of Justice in six cities, were designed to test different program implementation models.
Abstract: Each of the six projects featured a different setting and context. The VIS project in Victoria was based in the police department; a constable had overall responsibility for contacting victims and arranging for the VIS. The North Battleford project was staffed by a civilian coordinator who developed five different questionnaires and conducted interviews in victims' homes. A full-time worker attached to the provincial attorney general's department was responsible for the Winnipeg project. Interviews were conducted with victims who then checked the notes for accuracy and signed questionnaires. In Calgary, a civilian project coordinator operated out of the police department and used a mail questionnaire to obtain statements. An officer of the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force distributed the VIS form to victims of serious crimes and completed forms were returned to the officer. The Montreal VIS project was located in the crown prosecutor's office where victims filled out the statement form themselves. In general, statement completion rates were higher when victims prepared the VIS in a personal interview. The most common reason victims gave for refusing to participate was that they regarded the offense as too minor to warrant a statement. Victims over 50 years of age had the highest rate of return in all projects. Between 14 and 28 percent of participants expressed anxiety about participating in the projects. Contrary to expectations, no differences were observed in the degree of victim satisfaction when their statements were used in court and when they were not. Most victims had negative attitudes toward sentencing both before and after their cases, but the majority said they would participate in the project if they were victimized again. Prosecutor opinions on the impact and usefulness of the VIS varied considerably across projects. The effect of victim impact statements on the criminal justice system is discussed.
Main Term(s): Victim impact statements
Index Term(s): Canada; Victims in foreign countries
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