The Importance of Victim Impact Statements
Reprinted from the Baltimore City State’s Attorney Website
Crime victims have the right to submit what are known as victim impact statements, and the State’s Attorney’s Office strongly encourages victims to exercise this important right.
What is a victim impact statement?
In an impact statement, a victim provides an explanation of how the crime affected you, your family, or even your community. Statements should include:
- A “brief” summary of the harm or trauma suffered by the victim or family as a result of the crime.
- A summary of the economic loss or damage suffered by the victim as a result of the crime. Include requests for restitution for out-of-pocket expenses.
- A concise statement of what outcome the victim would like and the reasons to support this opinion, including support for or opposition to treatment or community service programs.
- Highlights about the victim, past accomplishments, hopes for the future, and what the crime has done to change these activities.
- The overall effect the crime has had on the victim and family.
Why is a victim impact statement so important?
After a defendant pleads guilty or is found guilty of a crime, a Judge sentences the defendant. The Judge responsible for sentencing the defendant reads and considers victim impact statements before setting the sentence.
What else should I know about victim impact statements?
A victim impact statement submitted to the Court becomes part of the criminal case file. As a result, everyone involved in the case will receive a copy, including the Judge prosecutor, defendant, defense lawyer, and probation officer.
Is a victim required to submit a victim impact statement?
No. There is no obligation to compose and submit a victim impact statement.
Where are victim impact statements to be sent?
Victim impact statements can be submitted in one of three ways: through this Web site, by mail, or by fax.
Victim impact statements can be composed and submitted online by clicking here.
To submit by mail, send to:
The Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City
Communications and Community Affairs Division
100 North Calvert Street, Suite 302
Baltimore, MD 21202
To submit by fax, send to:
To review the elements of a standard victim impact statement, click here.
Still have questions?
If you have any questions or need assistance, please call the Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City’s Victim and Witness Division at 410-396-1897.