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Adequate resourcing needed for victims’ advocate

Adequate resourcing needed for victims’ advocate


The establishment of a victims’ commissioner role will only be meaningful if it is properly resourced to do the job of advocating for victims’ interests, Labour Justice spokesperson Andrew Little says.

Justice Minister Judith Collins has just recently indicated her support for a new role advocating for victims in the criminal justice system, something the Labour Party has called for since the last election.

“Last week’s debate on the Victims of Crime Reform Bill gave the Minister the perfect opportunity to share her new enthusiasm for the concept. After all, the Bill was introduced in 2011 with the select committee reporting back in 2012 and then silence for nearly two years.

“The reality is the Justice sector and the Ministry of Justice has had the knife taken to it under this government. To have effective advocacy for victims of crime, any new agency will have to be properly funded.

“Labour led the way in victims’ rights by setting up the Victims’ Support organisation, but we know there are gaps in support for victims.

“There should be an office of victims’ advocate and there needs to be proper recompense for expenses victims and their families usually incur in dealing with police and the rest of the justice system.

“Victims are part of the justice system through no choice they have made, and the state has a moral duty not only to bring the perpetrators of crime against them to justice, but to ensure in doing so victims are not re-victimised.

“Labour’s policy is to review all our victims-related legislation with a view to developing a comprehensive charter of victims’ rights, looking at the establishment of a victims’ rights advocate in each court and ensuring there is fair recompense of expenses associated with a victim’s participation in the justice system.”

Ends

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