The Right to Participation
The Victim Impact Statement

A victim impact statement (VIS) is a statement from a victim that describes the physical or emotional harm, property damage, or economic loss which the victim of a service offence has suffered. The court martial must consider the statement of any victim of the offence when determining the sentence to be imposed on an offender, including whether the offender should be discharged absolutely.

The court martial must also consider the statement of any victim when making certain dispositions concerning an accused person when found unfit to stand trial or not responsible on account of mental disorder.

The victim impact statement gives victims of service offences a voice in the military justice system. It allows victims to take part in the sentencing of the offender and other dispositions by explaining to the court martial and the offender, in their own words, how the service offence has affected them.

A victim can present a VIS with the help of a support person and outside the court room or behind a screen if certain condition are met.

Victim Impact Statements in the Military Justice System
Graphic long description

Victim Impact Statements (VIS) in the Military Justice System

Military Justice Process:

  1. Investigation
  2. Post-charge/Pre-trial
    • VIS
      • Unfit to stand trial
      • Not responsible – Mental disorder
  3. Court martial proceedings
  4. Sentencing
    • VIS
      • Conditions of release
        • Release offender
      • Release offender
      • Seriousness of the service offence
  5. After sentencing

When can a VIS be used?

  • in the sentencing phase of the trial
  • when the military judge determines certain other matters, for example in deciding whether an accused is unfit to stand trial or not responsible on account of mental disorder

How can a VIS be presented?

  • It can be read aloud by the victim at court martial
  • It can be read aloud by the victim at court martial, in the presence of a support person of their choosing
  • It can be read by the victim at court martial behind a screen or other device
  • It can be read by the victim outside the courtroom
  • It can be presented in any other way the court martial considers appropriate
  • The victim may also choose to only file the VIS with the prosecutor or the court administrator without presenting it to the court

Director of Military Prosecutions

The prosecutor must ensure that any submissions made at sentencing hearings include information regarding the impact of the offence on the victim, and that the court is made aware of all factors relevant to the protection and safety of the victim and the public.

For more information

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: