Right to speak

The right to speak is the right of victims to make a statement during the criminal hearing. The right to speak can give you recognition and possibly help to give the crime a place. You can let the suspect, the judge and the public prosecutor know what the crime has done to you. It can be difficult to determine how you want to use your right to speak. The decision aid or the step-by-step plan will help you with this.

Also read: right to be forgotten service

Step 1 – Choose the form of the right to speak

A. You speak with your statement on paper

You can write down your story in advance and read it aloud during the session. This prevents you from being able to speak your mind during the hearing or from saying things that you will later regret.

  • You do not have to give what you have written down to the judge. Then it will not appear in your criminal file. Of course you can.
  • You can still choose not to speak during the criminal hearing. You can also still choose to give your written statement to the judge. Everyone already knows what you wanted to say. Your statement will then be add to the criminal file.

B. You put your statement on paper

If you do not want to speak during the hearing, you can put your story on paper. This is call a write victim statement. Your statement will be add to the criminal file.

  • If you write down your statement, you do not have to be present at the criminal hearing to let us know what you think of the criminal case. You are of course allow to be present during the criminal hearing.
  • The judge, the public prosecutor, the suspect and the lawyer of the suspect can read your statement. Sometime the judge read the statement during the criminal hearing, but right to be forgotten.

C. You choose to speak alone

You will be give the floor during the criminal hearing. During the session you tell your story by heart and do not put anything on paper. During the criminal hearing, the judge, the public prosecutor, the suspect and the suspect’s lawyer are present.

  • The court secretary can type along with what you say. This will then be include in the report of the meeting.
  • Is there press present? They can copy phrases you have used.  

Also read: right to be forgotten help

D. You ask to speak to someone else

If you don’t want to speak yourself, you can also ask someone else to read your statement. This can be a family member, a friend or a friend. You have to authorize this person for this.

  • Put your statement on paper so someone can tell your story in court on your behalf.
  • You can decide for yourself whether you give your statement to the judge and add it to the criminal file.

Step 2 – Fill in how you want to tell your story on the Wish Form

On the Wish Form that you have received, you must indicate how you want to say something in court.

  • Read here how to fill in the Wish Form right to be forgotten.

Step 3 – Write your written statement

If you want to tell your story without putting it on paper, you can skip this step.

You can write down what you want to say about what happened to you and what it did to you. You can also say something about how you view the criminal case and what punishment you think is appropriate.

  • Use our ‘written victim statement writing guide to help you write your statement. Whether you read that statement yourself, have someone else read it or add it to the file: it is nice to write down your story.  
  • Use our sample letter ‘written victim statement’ to not forget anything that should be in your written statement.

It can also be nice to put your story on paper for yourself and to write down what the crime did to you. Even if you do not want to use the right to speak. Or if you don’t want the suspect or anyone in the courtroom to read your statement. In that case, indicate on the Wish Form that you do not want to say anything in court.

Also read: gdpr case studies

Step 4 – Send your statement

Do you want your write victim statement to be add to the criminal file? Then send your statement. The advantage of adding your statement to the criminal file is that the judge can use it as evidence for the criminal offence.

You can send the written victim statement to the Information point Victims OM (IPS OM) of the public prosecutor where the criminal case is being heard.

Make sure that you state the public prosecutor’s office number and the name of the suspect. The public prosecutor’s office number can be found on the ‘Request for compensation form’ or the letter from the Public Prosecution Service.

Do you want to speak at the hearing yourself or do you want someone to speak on your behalf? In that case it is not necessary to send your statement in advance. You can give the statement to the judge during the criminal hearing.