As many victims of crime may be unaware of their rights under the Victims’ Charter Act 2006 below are some points which may of interest to victims of crime. For further specific details please refer to the Act in full or if in Victoria contact Victims of Crime Counselling & Compensation Services on Freecall 1800 000 055.
- The objects of this Act are to recognise the impact of crime on the victims and to recognise that all persons adversely affected by crime should be treated with respect by all investigatory agencies, prosecuting agencies and victims’ services agencies and should be offered information to enable them to access appropriate services to help with the recovery.
- Agencies are to provide clear, timely and consistent information about relevant support services, possible entitlements and legal assistance available to persons adversely affected by crime and if appropriate to refer persons adversely affected by crime to relevant support services and to entities that may provide access to entitlements and legal assistance.
- The prosecuting agency is to give a victim, as soon as reasonably practicable, the following information: the charges filed against the person accused of the criminal offence and if no charge is filed the reason why; if charges are filed, any decision to substantially modify those charges, not to proceed with some or all of those charges, or to accept a plea of guilty to a lesser charge; details about how to find out the date, time and place of the hearing of the charges against the accused person; the outcome of the criminal proceeding against the accused person, including any sentence imposed; if an appeal is instituted, the fact of the appeal, the grounds of the appeal and the result of the appeal.
- The prosecuting agency is to ensure that a victim is informed about the court process and the victim’s entitlement to attend any relevant court proceedings. If a victim is to appear as a witness for the prosecution, the prosecuting agency is to ensure that a victim is informed about the trial process and the victim’s role as a witness for the prosecution.
- A victim may apply to a court for an order that the person convicted of or found guilty of the criminal offence that gave rise to the injury suffered by the victim pay compensation to the victim as per Division 2 of Part 4 of the Sentencing Act 1991 in relation to applications for compensation for victims of crime.
- A victim of a criminal act of violence may apply to be included on the victims register and may be given certain information concerning the offender such as the length of sentence, the likely date of release and the making of an extended supervision order together with issues relating to parole.
- If a victim believes that a particular agency has not upheld the Charter principles complaints should be forwarded to the Secretary, Department of Justice.