Victim Impact Statement Instructions
When a person is convicted of a crime, the judge reviews all information provided to him or her about the crime, the defendant, and what impact the crime has had on a victim, before passing sentence. A victim impact statement (yellow form) is your way to let the court know how the crime has affected you (emotionally, physically, and financially). If you prefer, you can write a letter instead of using the form. As a crime victim you have a right to make this statement in person to the judge, in writing, or both. You can attend the sentencing hearing and tell the court how the crime has impacted your life or you can submit a written Victim Impact Statement and the Assistant District Attorney (ADA) assigned to your case will submit it to the court on your behalf.
On the Victim Impact Statement form (VIS), you should only discuss the effect the criminal activity had on you and or your family. DO NOT discuss the facts of the incident. Please let the judge know how you feel and what you feel the sentence should be. You can provide the judge with any additional information about the defendant that you think relevant. (Use PEN, not pencil.) Please be as neat with your handwriting as possible. Use as much paper as necessary to clearly express your thoughts and views. If the victim is a young child, a parent can help the child with their Victim Impact Statement. The VIS is read by the ADA, defense attorney, judge, and defendant.
Be sure to sign and date your VIS or letter and return to the victim advocate assigned to your case, in the envelope provided.
In felony cases a pre-sentence investigative report (PSI) may be ordered by the judge. A pre-sentence investigation is conducted by an agent from the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC). This agent then prepares a written report that is read before sentencing by the prosecutor, defense lawyer, defendant, and judge. A PSI report contains many details about the social, family, and criminal history of a defendant. If a PSI is being done in your case, it is likely you will be contacted by the DOC agent assigned. The agent will talk with you about the impact this crime had on your life and will include this information in his/her report. If you desire, you can provide the agent with a letter also.
If no PSI report is ordered, your impact statement (verbal or written) is the only means the judge will have to learn of the impact this crime had on you and your wishes concerning sentencing.
Sometimes relatives or friends and even whole neighborhoods want to write letters to a judge on behalf of the victim. These letters should be labeled with the defendant’s name and case number and sent to the Victim Witness Services Division before the sentencing hearing.
Download Victim Impact Statement