A Victim Impact Statement (VIS) is essentially a letter to the Judge (Court) in which they describe how a victim's life has been affected and/or changed as a result of the crime. The VIS is read at sentencing upon a criminal conviction and can describe any financial, physical, and/or emotional effects that you, or others within your family, have experienced. The statement can be oral or written and can be delivered to the court in a number of ways:
- Attend the sentencing hearing and read the VIS to the court aloud
- Read to the court by an advocate for the victim or the prosecuting attorney
- Request the judge read it to themself
Ultimately, the Court has final discretion on the sentence a defendant receives. Victim impact statements (VIS) are considered the most effective way to ensure that your voice as a victim is heard by the Court prior to sentencing. It also provides a victim with the opportunity to share an opinion on what should be included in a defendant’s sentence or disposition (i.e. jail/prison time, community service, treatment programs, probation conditions, etc.)
If you would like to complete a Victim Impact Statement or would like more information, please contact the Victim Assistance Coordinator at (320) 983-8305. More information can also be found on the printable brochure Minnesota Office of Justice Programs (PDF).