Community Impact Statement
In support of the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights, the province has established a Community Impact Statement Program so that statements describing the impacts of a particular offence on the community can be admitted in court and considered by the judge during the sentencing of a convicted offender.
What is the Community Impact Statement Program?
The Community Impact Statement Program of the Community Safety and Crime Prevention Branch, Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General (CSCP) has been designated by a provincial order-in-council as the program responsible for developing procedures for preparing a Community Impact Statement in British Columbia.
What is a Community Impact Statement?
A Community Impact Statement is a statement, written by an individual on behalf of a community, that describes the harm or loss that an offence has caused to a community. If such an individual chooses to submit a community impact statement, the court must take it into account when it sentences an offender, assuming it meets the Criminal Code requirements for admissibility. Whether these requirements have been met in a particular case will be for the judge to decide. How much weight the Community Impact Statement will be given, once admitted, is also up to the judge to decide.
Who may complete a Community Impact Statement?
An individual on behalf of a community may complete a Community Impact Statement. For example, representatives of local organizations, cities, religious organizations, and First Nations communities may prepare community impact statements on behalf of the people who live and work in the affected community.
What can be included in a Community Impact Statement?
A Community Impact Statement must be prepared using the Community Impact Statement Form. The individual may describe how the offence has affected members of the community emotionally, physically and financially as well as any fears that community members may have for their safety or their family and friends' safety. The community representative may include a drawing, poem or letter to express how the offence has affected the community.
For more information on what should be included, please see the Community Impact Statement Fact Sheet.
Does a community have to complete a Community Impact Statement?
Completing a Community Impact Statement is not mandatory.
Is help available if there are questions about the Community Impact Statement?
Individuals can call 1-844-660-5343 (toll-free) if they have questions about how to complete a Community Impact Statement or they can ask a victim service worker for assistance. To find a victim service worker in your community, contact VictimLinkBC at 1-800-563-0808 (toll-free in B.C.), 604-875-0885 (TTY), or VictimLinkBC@bc211.ca.
Will a community receive compensation for the financial impacts described in the Community Impact Statement?
The Community Impact Statement is not an application for compensation or restitution.
Does the court have to consider a Community Impact Statement?
The Criminal Code specifies that the court “shall” consider a community impact statement filed with the court. The judge determines what weight to give to the statement.
When is a Community Impact Statement considered?
A Community Impact Statement may only be considered by a court after an offender is found guilty.
Can an individual who has completed the Community Impact Statement present their statement in court by reading it?
The Criminal Code has provisions to enable an individual to read their Community Impact Statement in Court, upon request.
Where an individual has indicated they wish to read their impact statement in court, the court clerk will advise the judge. If there is a finding of guilt, when directed by the presiding judge, Court Registry staff, to the best of their ability, will make reasonable attempts to contact the individual to make arrangements for reading their statement.
For more information, please see the Community Impact Statement Fact Sheet.
How do I keep updated on the status of the court case?
Where and when should I return my Community Impact Statement?
When you have finished completing the Community Impact Statement Form, sign it and attach it to the Cover Page, date it and mail, fax, or bring all of the pages to the Court Registry at the court location responsible for the case. Community Impact Statements should not be submitted to Crown counsel. It is important to give your Community Impact Statement to the Court Registry as soon as possible so it is placed in the court file before an accused is sentenced.
Community Impact Statement Resources: