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Impact Statements: A Victim's Right To Speak, A Nation's Responsibility To Listen

NCJ Number
Date Published
68 pages
This document discusses the state of victim rights in the U.S., and in particular focuses on the right to submit victim impact statements.
The authors call for a national educational initiative to train all criminal justice professionals on the traumatic and devastating effects of crime on the lives of victims and the community in general. National policies must be enacted at all levels of government to ensure victims' rightful legal standing as integral participants in all stages of the criminal justice process. This can be accomplished through the passage of constitutional amendments. The report recommends that national policies be drafted to ensure crime victims a strong and active voice in the disposition of criminal cases through the use of victim impact statements. The community, as a secondary victim to crime, must also be allowed to submit impact statements to sentencing courts and parole authorities. This document examines the effectiveness of victim impact statements, proposes models for implementation of impact statements in States which do not yet provide for them, and discusses various aspects of victimization and social services for victims.

Date Published: January 1, 1994