When a case of domestic violence has reached the level of the courts, much of the fate of the offender is in the hands of the prosecutor and the judge. As a victim of domestic violence, it is your right to voice your concerns and needs to the judge. The judge and the prosecutor will want to hear your thoughts and wishes about the case. You can accomplish this through filling out a victim impact statement or by writing a letter about your domestic violence experience.
Speak to the prosecutor or a victim advocate who is working on your case. The prosecutor’s office may have a form called a Victim Impact Statement available for you. This form will have questions regarding the information the judge will want to hear from you. The victim advocate assigned to your case may be able to help you fill out the form.
Write a letter if a form is not available. Include your name, the date and the criminal case number. If you do not know the case number you can specify “People or State vs. Offender’s name.”
Explain to the judge what you are asking for. In your letter you can request things such as an increase in bail, an order of protection and the sentence you think is appropriate. You may also tell the judge how this experience has affected you and your family. Keep your letter direct and to the point.
Make four copies of your letter or victim impact statement. Give a copy of your letter to the prosecutor, the judge or the victim advocate and keep a copy for yourself. This must be done prior to the offender being sentenced.
You have the right to speak at the sentencing hearing but it is not a requirement. You can find sample domestic violence letters provided in the link below.
The defense attorney may attempt to contact you; you do not have to speak to him.