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Offender levy working: Govt congratulated

For Immediate Release:


Offender levy working: Govt congratulated


The Sensible Sentencing Trust says the Offender Levy is putting responsibility smack-bang where it belongs and has congratulated the National / Act parties for implementing it.

Trust Spokesman Garth McVicar said while his organization came under a lot of criticism at the time the idea was mooted the value of the levy was now undisputable.

“Victims are now benefiting from this levy and the tax-payer is not being burdened with an additional tax which is fantastic.

We wanted to transfer the cost of crime back where it belongs – to the criminal – the perpetrator of the crime and this is also happening which is great!

The scheme has been more successful than originally thought and it has made almost double its annual target of $2 million.

More than $1.5 million worth of extra services and entitlements have been handed out to victims of crime in the first year of a new levy scheme.

The Offender Levy was introduced in July 2010, and means anyone convicted of a crime, regardless of what it is, has to pay $50 in addition to any other penalty they may face.

The fund has paid for counselling and costs incurred by families affected by homicide, victims of sexual abuse and those affected by serious crimes.

In total 2,091 grants were given out.”

Ministry of Justice details on Offender Levy payouts, July 2010 - July 2011:

- 296 people affected by homicide received assistance from the Homicide Support Service, which provides practical and emotional support throughout the criminal justice process.

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- 96 grants were given to families to help with the loss of income and costs incurred immediately after the homicide.

- 322 family members received the $124 per day High Court attendance grant to help cover the loss of income incurred during High Court trials.

- 33 families received assistance with funeral or memorial service costs.

- 319 family members received assistance for expenses (such as travel, childcare, and accommodation) to help them attend court proceedings and Parole Board hearings.

- 298 victims received a one-off discretionary grant to cover immediate costs following a sexual assault.

- 539 victims were assisted by the Sexual Violence Court Support Service, which gives victims of sexual violence access to a trained and experienced victim adviser during the criminal court process.

- 188 victims of serious crime received assistance for expenses (such as travel, childcare, and accommodation) to help them attend court proceedings and Parole Board hearings.

Mr. McVicar said, “The Offender Levy is working exactly as we hoped it would, offenders are being held accountable for their actions and victims are being better looked after.”

“But best of all this is another win for good old common sense and another blow for the nonsense the criminal loving fraternity have promoted.”

ENDS

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