The Dangers of a Punitive Approach to Victim Participation in Sentencing: by ELIZABETH JANZEN
In the paper she examines "the Canadian regime governing the participation of victims in sentencing through the use of victim impact statements, with a focus on the regime following the 2015 amendments implemented through the Victims Bill of Rights Act".
"that an approach to victim impact statements that focuses on their expressive and communicative uses best aligns with both Canadian sentencing principles and respect for victims. The current regime, in prioritizing the use of victim impact statements as a means to compile evidence of harm, sends a dangerous message by equating respect for victims with harsher sentences. An analysis of case law demonstrates that the current legislative regime for victim impact statements has the potential not only to cause further harm to victims, but also to unnecessarily increase the severity of sentences at a time in which courts are struggling to resist an increasingly punitive sentencing regime."