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Victims critical of time taken to release a Victims Code

Victims critical of time taken to release a Victims Code

In 2011 the Ministry of Justice set up a Victims Reference Group comprised of victims of various crimes.

This group consisted of 6 or 7 victims and met about 4 times in all and mostly in 2012 at the Ministry of Justice headquarters in Wellington.

Compiling a Victims Code to accompany the about to be revised Criminal Justice Bill was the aim.

The code was finished mid to late 2012 and has yet to see the light of day. The ‘code’ is a means of helping victims through a bewildering criminal process.

Many community groups were consulted and even a Maori Advisory Group was added, but none were victims.

A recent report from the United Kingdom entitled ‘Justice – Guaranteed Support for Victims of Crime’ and announced by the ‘Victims Minister’.

Victims Minister Helen Grant said in her release with regard to the new UK Victims Code that “now all victims are automatically offered support once they have experienced a crime”.

Further to this she said “Victims must have more help navigating a confusing and often intimidating Criminal Justice System”.

Yes the UK is so far along the track with regard to victims that they even have a Victims’ Minister separate from a Justice Minister.

The Sensible Sentencing Trust would really like to know why New Zealand is languishing in this regard, could it be that victims are not taken seriously in this country.

How are we to get proper recognition for victim’s rights, when even the Sensible Sentencing Trust cannot make much headway?

Does the Ministry of Justice really care about victims or is what they do in their Victims Centre merely a token gesture to appear to be doing something.

Was indeed the Victims Reference Group set up to make it look as if the Ministry of Justice cared or consulted widely, or was it a token group?

We can’t even keep up with other countries in this regard. Perhaps to get things moving New Zealand could do with a Victims Minister and Ministry.


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