I've been involved in the preparation of VISes, arguments against the admissibility of VISes, and assisting with rulings on whether contents of victim impact statements should be admissible (i.e. the prosecution, defence and judiciary side of the fence). As a general proposition, I support victims' right to present factual and reasonable statements of impact that a crime may have had on him/her. Remember, a VIS is ultimately just the victim's perspective -- no judge should give it undue weight in sentencing an offender. What I do not support is the direction from the likes of the Sensible Sentencing Trust and other groups of similar idiots would like VISes to become: a kind of unrestrained free-for-all where crime victims get to unleash on the perpetrator, his/her family, and anything else in between. There are also undoubtedly a small number of crime victims who, with the encouragement of unhelpful people, would basically like to blame every misfortune they have suffered post the crime on the criminal. t I once refused to read out a few rather bile-filled paragraphs from a VIS from a victim who wanted to make a drunk driver who crashed into him responsible for her dog drowning because she was in crutches and couldn't go into the water to rescue her dog as a result of being ploughed into by the drunk driver. Nevermind that the victim's dog had apparently been allowed to roam the street unsupervised.
The criminal justice system is, regrettably, dominated mostly by the voices of the stupid and ideologically-driven (e.g. the police union and the Sensible Sentencing Trust). It really is not as broken as these idiots would like everyone to believe (whilst also believing that their "solutions" would be a cure all for everything); nor is it the case that, as some defence lawyers would like everyone to believe, that every criminal is just some misunderstood, marginalised victim.
As for some of the rather ignorant comments about restorative justice, do the makers of such comments have any actual experience of attending these meetings? Have you read any of the research on its impact on the victims and offenders?