By Matthew Mennilli, Salesian College Chadstone

Let me take you back at to an era that your parents may remember. It was a time where they rode their bikes to the local park for the day and their parents knew that their children would not be harmed. They could leave their doors unlocked as the threat of violence was unheard of. Those were the days of innocence. Today, times have changed. Now we have to lock our doors as violence has become a recurring issue and victims of crime are not being properly compensated for. We are in a desperate need of reforms to ensure the culprits of this violence get what they deserve! Therefore, something must be done!

You see constantly on television the importance of driving under the limit as viewers are exposed to a number of sad families who have lost someone very close to them through the TAC advertisements.

Victims of crime

Yes, victims of crime can receive up to $100,000, a primary victim can receive up to $70,000 and a secondary victim can receive up to $60,000, but can this compensation bring people back? The answer is no! When you lose someone close to you, the pain is unbearable. People do not just suffer physical effects, but are also affected mentally and psychologically. The Victims of Crime Compensation and Counselling Services (VOCCS) have been operating in Victoria for fifteen years and specialize exclusively in the provision of state government funded entitlements to victims of crime. It has assisted in over 5000 crime compensation applications. But it is fair for a person to go to counseling sessions and receive medical treatment whilst the person who did this to you just undertakes community service in the hope of changing as a person and learning from their mistakes? Is that fair, is that justice being served?

For example, one man who gets king hit has had his whole life changed forever whilst in a few years’ time, the man who assaulted this man for no reason at all is walking the streets a free man whereas the victim is now a paraplegic and the family have to change their whole lifestyle around. This was all due to the crime that befalls on this poor, helpless man who did not do anything to provoke the attack. Is this fair?

But it is not just the victim that suffers, but the victim’s whole family become victims in the process as well. The family members are being denied a son who may not be able to walk ever again and the parents of the poor man may never get the chance to have grandchildren. The whole family suffers! Their lives are left at a standstill!

When a judge sentences a culprit of this conflict to a certain number of years in prison, are judges really taking into consideration how the victims of the crime are coping? Do the judges delivering their outcome know what it is like for someone you have spent almost your whole life with to be taken from you within the blink of an eye?

At times, it was due to an act that could have easily been avoided. A possible reform is to make judges more aware of how victims of crime cope by possibly visiting hospitals or rehabilitation centres as well as meeting with the loved ones of those who are suffering the long term effects of these crimes. This way, judges can understand what it is like from the victim’s perspective and can gather a lens into their world which is changed forever due to this crime. Thus with this new knowledge, judges can punish offenders appropriately.

If a victim must endure permanent damage such as becoming a paraplegic, then shouldn’t the prime instigator of this crime suffer just as much, even more than the victim?

The elderly

The elderly nowadays have become so vulnerable and easy targets to those desperate for a bit of money or other personal values.

On the 25th of October this year, a 49 year old father and his 29 year old son appeared in court for being accused of bashing and robbing a 91-year-old woman in her Mount Waverley home. The woman was attacked in September last year and suffered serious injuries, including bleeding on the brain. Police claim the men smashed their way into the victim’s home before bashing her and dragging her from room to room demanding money and jewellery at about 9.45pm on September 17. It is alleged the men smashed the victim’s front window to get inside. The Kovacs face 19 charges including assaulting, imprisoning and intentionally causing serious injury, and stealing $720 worth of jewellery and cash. They are also charged with arson over a fire at another home in East Malvern that caused $100,000 damage.

This weak, innocent woman fell to the floor and when she couldn’t get up one man allegedly picked her up and dragged her around the dining room. And as she was being robbed, police allege the second man held her to the ground, banging her head on the floor.

This woman is old enough to be the father’s mother so how do you think she would feel knowing what her son and grandson did.

As a result of this incident, this poor woman may never feel safe in her home ever again! What would be the just outcome in such a case? Whether you are 91 or 9, no one deserves to be treated in this cruel and sickening manner and therefore the criminals need to be dealt harshly!


Prisons need to be harsh and cruel. Prisoners need to do the time and should learn from what they did. They need to be punished so they can suffer just what the victim is suffering due to their acts.

On the 4th of June this year the Herald Sun released the article, ‘Prisoners popping life’s little luxuries at bargain prices’ which informs readers that  the state’s most dangerous criminals are enjoying cut-price junk food and luxury items in our most secure prison. While families are working every day who are struggling to pay the daily grocery bills, our most fearful  inmates jailed at Barwon Prison, including serial killers Peter Dupas and Paul Denyer, are living on discount smoked oysters, ice cream, popcorn and cheese. It is rather strange how those who have infringed on our rights are being given all these foods that the average person, who has never committed a crime, has to work harder to put food on the table.

Some prisons also provide prisoners with Xboxes and DVD players! An Xbox is at least $250 so why are people who are inflicting pain and even ending people’s lives, being treated so kindly? They should not be given luxuries such as Xboxes, DVD players and enjoyable food.

Are they telling us to commit a crime so we can indulge in these delicacies?

Prisoners need to be punished, not rewarded! We are supposed to be living in a democratic country!

Victims of crime should not have to tolerate these injustices!


That means no TV, no Xbox and no fine cuisine. It should really, not be given a thought but the truth is, they are given priority!

There was a newspaper article where elderly people living in retirement villages are given scraps of food whereas people in jail who have committed crimes are given all these luxuries.

These criminals who infringed on our right and are being rewarded? What did the elderly do to be disadvantaged like this? THEY SHOULD NOT BE COMPARED TO THOSE who denied a young man his life!

Why are victims, in particular the helpless, the ones being punished? It seems the victims are being punished and the people in prison are being given all these luxuries!


It starts at a young age.  Young children need to be taught moral values in society so they can be aware of their surroundings and know right from wrong. Teenagers need to be educated – to let them know that there are penalties for their actions. People need to be aware there are consequences for what they have done, not just a mere community service that will hardly have an effect on them, but an appropriate sentence that will affect them permanently.

If we can get the message across in high schools, even in primary schools, we can prevent a large number of crimes from occurring. We could have police officers come to schools and talk about the experiences that affect victims of crime.

An ordinary mother can’t help but worry when her child goes out at night, while she is waiting for her daughter to return, she is waiting in fear that ‘her baby’ could be physically abused, verbally abused and even raped.


We know what we need to do for our future.  We know our rights and it is time the culprits of these severe crimes are given appropriate punishments that will have permanent effects on them. Victims of crime are scarred in many ways due to the crime and therefore the bringers of these violations should suffer just as much or even more so it does not happen again!  Let us ensure justice is rightfully being served!

If we can apply these reforms to society, we will have a society that is fair and just and where victims of crime can continue living their lives knowing that the culprits are rightfully suffering which is the real compensation!

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