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Government will ensure victims get a better deal

Hon Phil Goff

Minister of Justice

Media Statement

15 October 2002

Government will ensure victims get a better deal

A wide range of new rights for victims which will be guaranteed under law, have been created with the passage of the Victims Rights Bill, Justice Minister Phil Goff said today.

“This legislation delivers on the Government’s promise on a better deal for victims. The challenge now is to ensure that these rights become a reality.

“The Government will be vigilant that the various agencies charged with delivering these rights act on them.

“I welcome the support of United Future New Zealand on this legislation, in particular that party’s law and order spokesman Marc Alexander.

“We will work together in a watchdog committee to ensure that we promote the rights to the wider community to make sure people are aware of them and that they are delivered upon.

“The input of Victim Support, the key organisation responsible for the delivery of services to victims in New Zealand, will be a vital component of this process.

“This legislation will make a real difference.

- Most of the vague “principles” in the Victims of Offences Act 1987 are recast as explicit rights, with corresponding mandatory obligations upon specific Government agencies to uphold these rights. These rights are enforceable through the Ombudsman, Privacy Commissioner, Police Complaints Authority and by direct approach to the agencies themselves.

- Victims must be properly informed of progress in the case against the offender.

- It extends the range of crimes for which victims may join the Victim Notification Register and be automatically informed about bail, home detention, release, escape and parole hearings involving the offender.

- All victims are able to make written submissions to the Parole Board and those on the Victims Notification Register are able to appear before the Board to make oral submissions.

- There will be a requirement that the court take the views of victims into account when making a decision on final name suppression.

“These are rights which did not exist in the past. Previous Governments did not see it as necessary to enshrine them in law. This legislation rectifies that,” Mr Goff said.

ENDS


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