Stop Editing Victim Impact Statements in New Zealand

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“To have the statement edited at the sentencing felt like I was silenced, what was taken out was the most important part, it was my feelings and pain - I felt like there was no point left in it, I could no longer read it” 

These are the words of a Victim of serious violent crime. She chose to let the Crown read it because it had lost all meaning to her. Sadly, this is typical of the feelings of most Victims in New Zealand. It is unfair and must change now.

When a victim of a serious violent crime delivers their victim impact statement, they must be able to say exactly how they feel. Traumatic events can affect people for their entire lives, and it is vitally important for them to be able to have their say. Watering down the impact is effectively silencing the victim and minimizing their pain and suffering. 

This is the only time the victim gets to have their say during the entire Justice process, it can be their only opportunity to address the offender. It is a huge part of the healing process. Do not trample on their right to free speech. Please give Victims some empowerment by allowing them to express their TRUE feelings in their Victim Impact Statement.