Supporting victims of crime and upholding their rights

Shane Rattenbury, MLA

The ACT will develop a Charter of Rights for Victims of Crime so that more support is provided to people in the justice system to reduce ongoing trauma, Minister for Justice Shane Rattenbury announced today.

The Charter of Rights for Victims of Crime will ensure that their rights are upheld at a time that can be very traumatic.  Having the right information and the right support at the right time can assist with reducing that trauma.

"Victims and survivors may feel that they are indelibly changed by their experiences with the justice system. These experiences can be incredibly distressing," Mr Rattenbury said.

"The ACT has a strong history of upholding human rights and promoting and protecting the interests of victims of crime. A Charter of Rights for Victims of Crime will ensure that that the experiences of victims and survivors of crime are validated and upheld at every stage of the justice process."
The Charter's aim is to ensure that victims of crime receive consistent and respectful treatment in the criminal justice system, and will work to ensure that any further trauma is avoided.         The Government is seeking feedback on three key issues as part of its consultation of a Charter of Rights for Victims of Crime:

  • How information could be provided in an accurate and timely way to victims of crime about justice processes and their case
  • What other opportunities exist for victims of crime to participate in the justice process
  • What appropriate complaint management, remedy and oversight mechanisms are required for victims of crime.

Mr Rattenbury encouraged victims of crime, justice and victim support agencies and other community stakeholders to contribute to the development of the Charter.

"Feedback from victims of crime is essential to the development of the Charter, and in identifying potential models for providing greater support to victims during the justice process," Mr Rattenbury said.

"In better understanding where practical and legal barriers or challenges and opportunities exist in delivering victim rights, we will then consider what system-wide initiatives may support victims to access their rights and ensure justice agencies deliver them."

In addition to a wide range of available supports for victims of crime in the Territory, the ACT was the first jurisdiction to establish a Human Rights ACT and is on the only jurisdiction with the Victims of Crime Commissioner seated in the Human Rights Commission.

"The Charter will also contribute to broader community safety outcomes, contributing to increased confidence in reporting crimes, better provision of evidence, reduced re-traumatisation of victims and a more efficient and transparent justice process overall," Mr Rattenbury added.

Media conference: Minister Rattenbury and ACT Victims of Crime Commissioner Heidi Yates will address the media today (Friday) at 2pm at the ACT Human Rights Commission, Level 2, 11 Moore St, Canberra.

More information is available at the Your Say website: www.yoursay.act.gov.au.