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Victim's Rights and the Budget

Victim's Rights and the Budget

Wednesday 5 Jun 2002 Stephen Franks Press Releases -- Crime &

Victims of crime have been treated with contempt in the Budget, ACT Justice Spokesman MP Stephen Franks said today.

"Victim Support got an extra $200,000 in the Budget taking its total to $2.555 million. There is no reference anywhere to the Victims Rights Bill, no indication of any anticipated spending to implement the promises of that Bill - half hearted as they are - and certainly nothing responding to the Withers' Referendum, passed by a 92% vote for "greater emphasis on the needs of victims, providing restitution and compensation for them".

"The Budget shows that Victim Support expects to deal with between 100,000 and 123,000 victims and counsel 60 to 70 family members of murder victims. The estimates no longer predict contact hours and counselling hours. Last Budget, Victim Support had projected 170,000 to 190,000 contact hours and 800 to 1,800 counselling hours for families of murder victims.

"The total allocation to Victim Support is equal to just 2.5% or 1/40^th of the legal aid budget alone. Legal aid takes just under $100 million.

"The legal aid budget is $100 million with the projected number of criminal legal aid applications being 52,200 to 58,000 and the projected number of grants being between 47,300 and 52,400.

"The legal aid granted last year to just 1 professional burgling family is not far under two thirds of the total budget for Victim Support last year.

"The total amount for victims is less than 1/600^th of the overall justice sector budget (courts, prisons, police etc). The increase is less than the amounts Corrections has contracted to pay for a few months cultural advice and consultation over its new South Auckland prison site.

"The increase amounts to $2 per anticipated victim.

"By contrast the Human Rights Commission gets an extra $1.5 million to develop a national plan of action on human rights. The national plan of action is code for finding largely imaginary new grievances for politically favoured groups and encouraging them to feel like victims. Most of the new offence will be at conduct which in a more robust and proud era might have been regarded as matters of morality or good manners.

"Meanwhile victims of real crimes, the evil of which we can all agree on, are effectively treated with contempt," Mr Franks said.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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