ACT Welcomes Greater Voice For Victims of Crime
ACT Justice Spokesman Patricia today welcomed initiatives to give victims greater voice in the justice system saying for too long the rights of criminals have been put ahead of the rights of victims.
"The rights of victims to speak in Court and at Parole Hearings outside prisons is long overdue.
"For criminals to have any understanding of the devastating impact their crimes have on the lives of innocent New Zealanders they must hear victims tell their stories.
"Allowing victims to speak in Court prior to an offender being sentenced will ensure their suffering is taken into account during sentencing. This is an important step forward.
"It will be a great relief to the victims of serious, violent crimes that they no longer have to go to a Prison to make a submission to the Parole Board. It is hard enough for victims to make a submission, without knowing their attacker is close by.
"Victims should be guaranteed the right to make a submission to the Parole Board as it is the first priority of the Justice system to keep them safe, and all New Zealanders safe from criminals.
"It is encouraging to see the Government working with Victim Support to get these important changes right. Victim Support must be congratulated for their very difficult task of picking up the pieces of lives shattered by crime," said Patricia Schnauer.