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Make associate minister victims' advocate

Alexander: Make associate minister victims' advocate

A day after co-hosting a Sensible Sentencing Trust presentation to his fellow MPs, United Future's Marc Alexander has called for the Government to make the associate Minister of Justice's role one of an advocate for victims.

"The time has come to redress the imbalance in favour of offenders' rights by making explicit the role of the associate Justice Minister as a victims advocate," Mr Alexander, United Future's law and order spokesman, said.

"The meeting with victims families at Parliament yesterday again highlighted the very real problem that the Minister of Justice has in a role of advocacy for victims.

"The Minister must be an impartial legislator promoting justice for all, and therefore cannot be seen to comment on judges' rulings, or particular cases. Clearly he's in a no-win position.

"But there is no reason why part of the definition of the associate Justice Minister's role could not include advocacy for victims.

"This would actually mean that we start putting victims at the centre of justice, rather than just paying lip service to the concept.

"The fact is that victims are a central reason why we have a criminal justice system, and we need to give them the strongest possible voice, rather than have the current situation where they are placed on the fringe and shown scant regard.

"We have the Victims Rights Act, but in this case, legislation without advocacy often gives them no real rights at all," Mr Alexander said.

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