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Victim Personal Statements in England and Wales: Latest (and last) Trends from the Witness and Victim Experience Survey

NCJ Number
Criminology & Criminal Justice Volume: 13 Issue: 3 Dated: July 2013 Pages: 245-261
Julian V. Roberts; Marie Manikis
Date Published
July 2013
17 pages
This article discusses crime victims and victims' advocates call for greater input into the criminal process, and in particular at the stage of sentencing.
Crime victims and victims' advocates have for many years called for greater input into the criminal process, and in particular at the stage of sentencing. Today, victims in almost all common law countries have the opportunity to participate in the sentencing process, usually by providing information about the impact of the crime. This impact evidence is placed before a sentencing court in the form of a victim impact statement (VIS) or victim personal statement (VPS) as it is known in England and Wales. This article reviews findings from the last few years of data from the Witness and Victim Experience Survey (WAVES) which was conducted by the Ministry of Justice. The authors review findings from the last administrations of the survey. In the most recent administration of the survey (2009-2010), less than half (43 percent) of victims recalled being offered a statement. Over the most recent 3-year period (2007-2010), a comparable percentage (42 percent) of the victims recalled being offered the opportunity to make a VPS; almost half (45 percent) explicitly responded that they had not been given an opportunity to make a VPS. In addition, significant variation emerged across local justice areas. The percentage of victims reporting having been offered a VPS varied from a low of 29 percent in London to a high of 63 percent in Northumbria - a range of 34 percent. These and other findings suggest that the VPS scheme is being inconsistently implemented across the country. Abstract published by arrangement with Sage.