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In criminal proceedings there is an option for victims to make a Personal Statement (also referred to as an impact statement) as to how the crime affected them emotionally. What function does this type of statement serve?

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The government guidance offers this summary of the purpose and function of a Victim Personal Statement, in that it...

...gives victims an opportunity to explain how the crime has affected them, physically, emotionally, psychologically, financially or in any other way.

And:

The Victim Personal Statement (VPS) is important and gives victims a voice in the criminal justice process by helping others to understand how a crime has affected the victim. If a defendant is found guilty, the court will take the VPS into account, along with all the other evidence, when deciding upon an appropriate sentence.

For awareness, it stems from the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime in England and Wales (Victim's Code), specifically Right 7:

7.1 You have the Right to make a Victim Personal Statement to explain in your own words how a crime has affected you, whether physically, emotionally, financially or in any other way. This is different from a witness statement. The Victim Personal Statement is considered by the judge or magistrate when determining what sentence the defendant should receive and can also help service providers to consider what additional support you and/or your family may require.

As for an appropriate sentence, the Sentencing Council guidelines say:

A victim personal statement (VPS) gives victims a formal opportunity to say how a crime has affected them. Where the victim has chosen to make such a statement, a court should consider and take it into account prior to passing sentence. The court must pass what it judges to be the appropriate sentence having regard to the circumstances of the offence and the offender, taking into account, so far as the court considers it appropriate, the consequences to the victim.

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[But] the opinions of the victim or the victim’s close relatives as to what the sentence should be are not relevant.

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See https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/explanatory-material/magistrates-court/item/victims/1-victim-personal-statements/

A victim personal statement (VPS) gives victims a formal opportunity to say how a crime has affected them. Where the victim has chosen to make such a statement, a court should consider and take it into account prior to passing sentence. The court must pass what it judges to be the appropriate sentence having regard to the circumstances of the offence and the offender, taking into account, so far as the court considers it appropriate, the consequences to the victim.

From Criminal Code, s. 722:

When determining the sentence to be imposed on an offender or determining whether the offender should be discharged under section 730 in respect of any offence, the court shall consider any statement of a victim prepared in accordance with this section and filed with the court describing the physical or emotional harm, property damage or economic loss suffered by the victim as the result of the commission of the offence and the impact of the offence on the victim.

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