As a victim of crime, you have rights. Victims’ rights are described in the Victims’ Charter. The Victims’ Charter is law in Victoria.
As a victim of crime, you have the right to:
- Be treated with courtesy, respect and dignity by all criminal justice and victim support services.
- Be given clear, timely and consistent information about your rights and entitlements and, if appropriate, be referred to victims and legal support services.
- Be told about the police investigation at key stages. In some cases, the police may not be able to give you all the details if it would jeopardise an investigation, in which case you should be informed accordingly.
- Be told about the prosecution, including charges laid and any substantial changes to charges, details of court dates and times when you are required as a witness or have indicated a wish to attend, court outcomes and any appeals lodged.
- Be told (if you request it) about the outcome of any bail application and any special conditions of bail which are intended to protect you. Your safety can also be taken into account when considering a bail application.
- Have the court process explained to you, including your role as a witness.
- As far as practicable, be protected from unnecessary contact with, and intimidation by, the accused and their family and supporters, as well as defence witnesses while you are at court.
- Prepare a Victim Impact Statement which may be considered by the court in sentencing the offender, and have access to the assistance you require to prepare a Victim Impact Statement.
- Have your personal information, including residential address and telephone number, not disclosed to anybody except in accordance with the Information Privacy Act 2000.
- Have your property that is held for investigation or evidence stored and handled in a lawful, respectful and secure manner and, in consultation with you, returned as soon as practicable.
- If you are the victim of a violent crime, request that the court order the offender to pay you compensation. You may also apply for financial assistance from the Government for harm resulting from a violent crime.
- Apply to be included on the Victims Register if an adult offender is sentenced to prison for a violent crime against you, receive specific information regarding the release of the offender, and have your views taken into account by a Parole Board when any decision about parole of the offender is being considered.
If you would like to know more about your rights as a victim of crime, you can call the Victims’ Charter Enquiries and Complaints Line on 1800 118 728 or visit the Department of Justice’s Victims of Crime Victoria page.
If you have a complaint under the Victims’ Charter
The agencies who work with victims of crime do their best to provide a high standard of service. If you believe any of the principles of the Victims’ Charter have not been followed, however, you have the right to make a complaint.
To make a complaint, you can call the Victims’ Charter Enquiries and Complaints Line on 1800 118 728. An Enquiries and Complaints Officer will try to resolve your complaint by mediating between you and the agency or individual who is the focus of your complaint. In many cases, the matter can be sorted out very quickly and effectively.
If the matter is not resolved to your satisfaction, the Enquiries and Complaints Officer can also discuss your options about making a more formal complaint or written complaint to another complaints body.
An Enquiries and Complaints Officer is not able to change a decision made by a judge, magistrate or tribunal member, or investigate a complaint which is already being investigated by another agency or one which is not covered by the Victims’ Charter.
The immediate focus of the Enquiries and Complaints Line is on victims of violent crime.