Information for victims

When a court is sentencing a person for committing an offence, the judge must think about the harm it caused the victim.

The court must also think about the impact the offence had on a child under 16 if the child saw the offence happen.

Victim impact statements

A victim, and/or their family, can write a victim impact statement to tell the court about how the offence has affected their life. The statement may include medical reports, photographs or drawings.

It might tell the judge about:

  • how the victim’s life has changed since the offence was committed
  • physical or emotional injuries, and how these have affected the victim
  • financial loss – for example, if the victim couldn’t go back to work – and how this has affected them
  • details about the loved one’s life (if the case is about the death of a loved one).

The statement should focus on the impact of the offence, not the offence itself. It must be accurate and relevant only to the offence the person is being sentenced for.

The victim does not have to write a victim impact statement – it’s their choice. Just because a victim does not make a victim impact statement, it does not mean the court will assume the offence caused little or no harm to the victim or their family.

The victim can provide their victim impact statement either to the arresting police officer or the Victim Liaison Officer from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The court may offer a victim the opportunity to read their statement aloud in court. The prosecutor can also read the victim’s statement aloud in court on their behalf. If a victim is going to read their statement, the court may make special arrangements to help the victim (for example, making sure the victim cannot see the person who committed the offence).

Find out more about how to make a victim impact statement.

If the person who committed the offence has been referred to the Mental Health Court, victims can still submit a victim impact statement telling the Court how the offence affected them. Victims also can request the Court include special conditions on the order for their safety and wellbeing.

Find out more about victim impact statements and support under the Mental Health Act 2016.

Victims’ rights

A victim has certain rights in criminal justice proceedings. These are outlined in the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 2009 (Qld).

Find out about victim rights.

Support for victims

Victim Assist Queensland helps victims of violent crime, including all forms of domestic and family violence, to recover from the effects of the crime and get their lives back on track.

Financial assistance is available through Victim Assist to help victims recover from acts of violence that happen in Queensland.

Victim Assist can also support victims going through the court process by:

  • providing information about the court process
  • referring victims to specialist agencies that can provide practical court support, and
  • helping victims to write a victim impact statement.

Find out about the support that Victim Assist Queensland can provide.

Victims' right to information

Victims are also entitled to apply for information about the sentence of the person who committed the offence.

This can include:

  • details of the prison where the person is held
  • the person’s security classification
  • when the person can apply for parole or their date of release
  • when they have applied for parole – in which case the victim can make a written submission
  • the outcome of any parole applications.

You must be on a victims register to get this information.

There are different registers and different types of information that can be given out depending on the whether the person who committed the offence is an adult or a child, or has a mental illness or intellectual disability.

Find out more about victims registers.