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 of a crime, the court will take the VPS into account, along with all the other evidence, when deciding upon an appropriate sentence.
A VPS is different from a witness statement, which mainly focuses on the crime against you such as what was said or what you heard in the incident, rather than the impact of the crime on you.
Your VPS will help the criminal justice system (whether it is the police, the prosecutor or the court), to make a decision on the support and services that you or your family may need.
If you're a business you can also make an ‘Impact Statement’ explaining how it has been affected by the crime.
When can you make a VPS?
You'll be able to make a VPS at the same time as you give your witness statement to the police.
You may not be asked to give a witness statement but you'll still be able to make a VPS if you are:
- intimidated or vulnerable, have been persistently targeted, or are the victim of a serious crime
- the parent or guardian of a young victim of crime
- a close relative of someone who's died as the result of a crime
Once you’ve signed your statement, you won’t be able to change it. But you can give a new one to the police if you want to add more information.
What happens with your statement in court
If your case goes to court, your statement will be shown to the defendant's lawyers. This helps them understand how the crime has affected you. The defendant will also see it.
You might be questioned about your VPS in court. This could mean your comments are reported on the news.
Getting your voice heard
You can ask to read out your VPS in court or have someone read it for you, if the offender is found guilty.
The court will consider your VPS before sentencing an offender, whether it's read out or not.
Other ways your VPS might be used
Your statement will be taken into account if the offender appeals against their sentence. You won't need to give another VPS unless you'd like the court to know how the crime is still affecting you.
If you've joined the Victim Contact Scheme you can make a new VPS to the Parole Board if they consider releasing an offender from prison or moving them to more open conditions. Find out more about the Victim Contact Scheme.
Further information can be found in the ‘Making a Victim Personal Statement’ leaflet.