Source: (2004) Crimminal Justice. 15(3): 253-257.

In October 2003, I attended a conference in Canberra -- Innovation: Promising Practices for Victims and Witnesses in the Criminal Justice System organised by the ACT Office of the Victim of Crime Coordinator. Participants addressed a number of issues including therapeutic justice and problem-solving courts, restorative justice (particularly in the context of sexual assault offenses), circle sentencing, criminal injuries compensation and victim involvement at various stages of the criminal justice system. My paper addressed the issue of victim involvement in the process of sentencing and, more specifically, the relevance of victim impact statements (VISs) from family victims in the context of homicide offences. I expressed the view that it is time to shift the debate from a consideration of the VISs as factors in the sentencing equation to a broader perspective of the role of VISs in the process of sentencing in homicide matters. (excerpt)