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38 ways to better protect victims of crime

18 December 2007

38 ways to better protect victims of crime

The Justice and Electoral select committee has today reported back from
its inquiry into the rights of victims in the criminal justice system.
The inquiry was initiated by the Green Party following the passage of
the Prisoners and Victim Claims Compensation Bill

"Our judicial system is set up to meet the 'needs' of judges,
prosecutors and defence counsel above anyone else. The rights of victims
are often overlooked. These recommendations seek to change that," Nandor
says.

"The Justice and Select Committee report on the Victim's Rights Inquiry
presents recommendations, which if taken up by the Government, will do
much to guarantee that our judicial system is also just from the point
of view of complainants and victims.

"These are important and significant recommendations and I look forward
to a positive response from both the Government and all political
parties. Cross party support is needed to ensure that they are
implemented and properly resourced."

The committee makes 38 recommendations for better victim protection. Key
recommendations include:

* the establishment of a Charter of Victim's Rights
* the establishment of a single agency to oversee all matters
relating to victim's issues, including coordinating and monitoring
agencies that victims may be required to deal with.
* establishment of a comprehensive compensation scheme for victims
* provision of comprehensive information for victims
* services for complainants available within court precincts
* a review of services available to identify gaps
* allocation of sufficient resources to fill gaps identified and
implement the committee's recommendations

"A single agency approach will prevent victims' needs from falling
through the gaps. We also support a case management approach to make
sure that individuals are not poorly treated because of lack of
coordination between agencies.

"The review also presents recommendations around comprehensive
compensation for victims of crime, which will mean that, if taken up by
the Government, will provide adequate and accessible compensation.

"There is some compensation for some victims from ACC, but there is no
comprehensive coverage. This urgently needs to be addressed," Nandor
says.

ends


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