Victim Impact Statement Guide

This guide was prepared to help homicide victims’ family members write an impact statement for presentation prior to the sentencing of an offender during any legal proceeding that encourages them to exercise that right. The members of AFPAD—the Association des familles de personnes assassinées ou disparues (association of families of victims of murder or criminal disappearance)—have often expressed the need for such a document, not only to help them write a statement but also to recognize their need to honour and represent the loved one they have lost. We hope this guide will meet the needs expressed by victims’ families and loved ones. Although there is no one way to express the multiple impacts of such crimes, we have provided a few guidelines for carrying out this difficult task.

We wish to stress that this guide is in no way intended to create expectations of any possible influence of impact statements on judicial decisions. The purpose of our guide is to provide victims’ families with support as they go through a process that is intended to be personal and liberating. We hope you will see this guide as your tool, your reference, your voice— your way of expressing what is not always easy to understand.


All rights reserved by AFPAD. The partial or total reproduction of the contents of this guide is prohibited, subject to prior permission from AFPAD.



Design, coordination, writing and editing – AFPAD

  • Nancy Roy, Executive Director
  • Raymonde Hébert, Coordinator – Member Services
  • Mélanie Bisson, Coordinator – Administration and Communication


  • Arlène Gaudreault, President and Founder of the Association québécoise Plaidoyer-Victimes
  • Dr. Pascale Brillon, Psychologist and Director of the Institut Alpha, Professor in the Department of Psychology at the Université du Québec à Montréal and Director of the Anxiety-Bereavement-Trauma Laboratory
  • Marilyne Cléroux Desmarais, Sexologist, B.A., counsellor at the Montreal CAVAC
  • Nicole Gibeault, retired judge and legal columnist
  • Christine Carretta, author of the book Ma soeur, sauvagement assassinée

We thank the member families of AFPAD who generously agreed to share their experiences with us.

The publication of this document was made possible through the financial assistance of the Department of Justice Canada and the Department of Canadian Heritage.

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