Drawing on extensive research from Australia, this book examines the experiences of sexual offence victims who submit a victim impact statement. Victim impact statements are used in sentencing to outline the harm caused to victims. There has been little research on the impact statement experiences of sexual offence victims. This book fills this gap, examining the perspectives of six adult female victims and 15 justice professionals in Australia. This is supplemented by analysis of 100 sentencing remarks, revealing how courts use such statements in practice.
This book examines victims' experiences of preparing and submitting statements, justice professionals' experiences of working with victims to submit statements, and the judicial use of impact statements in sentencing. It identifies an overarching lack of clarity around the purpose of impact statements, which affects the information that can be included and the way they can be used by the court. It consequently explore issues associated with balancing the expressive and instrumental purposes of such statements, and the challenges in communication between professionals and victims of crime. The findings highlight several issues with the operation of impact statement regimes. Based on these findings, the book makes recommendations to clarify such regimes, to improve communication between justice professionals and victims of crime, and to enhance the therapeutic goals of such statements.
An accessible and compelling read, this book is essential reading for all those engaged with victimology, sentencing, and sexual violence.