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Victims lose confidence in notification register

Simon Power MP
National Party Justice & Corrections Spokesman

9 April 2008

Victims lose confidence in notification register

Victims of crime are staying off the Victims Notification Register because they have lost confidence in it, says National’s Justice & Corrections spokesman, Simon Power.

He is releasing information that shows the number of applications for inclusion on the Victim Notification Register (VNR) dropped by 20%, from 622 to just 498, between 2004 and 2007.

“This drop was at the same time as the number of victims was increasing dramatically – when violent crime was increasing by 26%, from 45,229 recorded offences in 2004 to 56,983 last year.

“At the very time you would expect more and more victims to be putting their names on the VNR, there has been a huge decrease, and that is of great concern.”

Under the Victims Rights Act, the VNR is open to victims of serious offences, including sexual violation and serious assault, or offences that result in serious injury or death, or where victims fear for the physical safety of themselves or family members.

“If we took, for example, the number of sexual violations, serious assaults, grievous assaults and homicides from just 2007, that would make at least 26,611 people eligible for the register.

“But between 2002 and 2006, only about 1,800 victims have applied to be registered. That indicates something is seriously wrong.

“I suspect victims have lost confidence in the VNR after several high-profile failures, including one where a victim was not told about a rapist’s Parole Board hearing, and another where a convicted murderer was paroled to live next door to his victim’s daughter.

“Failures such as these can be laid firmly at the feet of the Labour Government, which has had nine years to so something about it.

“National will change that. As part of our victims policy, announced recently, we will upgrade the VNR to allow victims to be on an “active” register, which will notify them of changes relating to their case, or on a “silent” register, for those who don’t want to be involved further, but which will record their contact details so agencies can ensure offenders are not paroled to live near them.

“We want to eliminate victims having to re-live a traumatic event because the system has let them down, and where it seems offenders are getting a better deal than victims.

“Labour’s record when it comes to victims has been seriously deficient.”

Attachment: answer to parliamentary question

ENDS

Answer to parliamentary question

20323 (2007). Simon Power to the Minister of Police (10 December 2007): How many victim notification applications have been received for each year for which information is available?

Police Minister Annette King replied: The number of victim notification applications that have been received for each year for which information is available is shown on the attached table.


The number of victim notification applications received for each year from 2004 to 10 December 2007

Year Approved Declined Total
2004 559 63 622
2005 509 51 561
2006 561 36 597
2007 457 41 498

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