This section answers some questions about writing a personal impact statement for people who have experienced hate crime. If this information sheet doesn’t answer your specific question, call Galop on 020 7704 204 to talk about your situation in confidence. Please note, if you are experiencing domestic abuse, there are different issues involved and you can call Galop for advice or Stonewall Housing have produced a factsheet called ‘writing a domestic abuse support statement’.
What Is A Personal Impact Statement?
Being targeted can leave you feeling lots of different emotions. One way of helping organisations (such as a housing provider or council) to understand what you’re going through is to write a personal impact statement. That involves writing about how the abuse has affected you in your own words. It can be as long or short as you want and doesn’t need to be perfectly written. The main thing is that it tells other people about the impact on you emotionally and practically.
What Good Will It Do?
Some people find it therapeutic to write about what happened. It’s main use though is to give evidence to professionals to help them deal with your case properly. It may help them to decide to take action against the person abusing you or to help you move if that is what you want.
You would usually give your statement to your housing officer (if you are a council or housing association resident being targeted where you live) or an antisocial behaviour officer in your local council if you own or privately rent your home. It could also be useful to show any other professionals who are responsible for making sure you’re alright, such as a social worker. If you are not sure about who to give it to, or want our help, you can call a Galop caseworker.
Is It Different To A Police Statement?
Yes. When you report something to the police, they may ask you to make a ‘witness statement’, which explains the facts of what happened. They involve a police officer asking you questions, writing about what happened, printing it out, then asking you to check and sign it. This is kept by the police and you don’t usually get a copy.
The police might also ask if you want to write a ‘victim personal statement’, which they might help you write to gives you a chance to talk about the impact of the crime on you.
A personal impact statement is different and you have complete control over what to put in it or who to send it to.
What Should I Write About?
Its useful to include your name, date of birth, address and the date. Other than that you can write anything you want.
With that said, there are things someone dealing with your case will find it useful to know, such as changes to your life as a result of the abuse. Examples of these changes that some victims have told us about include feeling stressed all the time, not feeling able to leave the house, drinking more to cope, avoiding having anyone to visit or insomnia.
These questions might help you think about the different things you could write about:
Has the abuse changed how safe you feel with people or certain situations?
This may involve trusting people less, feeling less safe in or near your home or being out at night.
Has the abuse affected your physical health?
This may include injuries, new health conditions or health problems getting worse.
Has the abuse affected your mental wellbeing?
This may include feeling stressed, anxious, low self worth, not being able to ‘switch off’, changed eating habits, feeling the future is bleak, feeling you want to hurt yourself or thinking about suicide.
Has the abuse impacted your ability to find or carry on with work, volunteering or other activities?
Do you feel more or less isolated now than before the abuse began?
This could include changes to your relationship with friends, family or partners.
– Has the abuse impacted on you financially?
This may be because of having to change the way you travel, paying for repairs, medical costs or the stress affecting your work.
Has the abuse affected your use of alcohol or drugs (prescription or recreational)?
This may include using alcohol or drugs to cope with stress, to sleep or to escape.
Has the abuse stopped you doing the things you want to?
This may include going out, listening to TV or music when you want, using public transport or avoiding going home.