Improving the status of victims in the criminal justice system
Responses emphasise the need to improve the status of victims in the criminal justice system. A prevailing theme is a need for greater recognition of victims’ perspectives in the justice system.
Victims need to [be] the focus – our journeys are worse.
Focus on victims first.
Victim has to fit around defendant’s rights – innocent until proven guilty. How do we balance that in our system?
Victims should not fear being discredited or debased and should be in a position whereby they feel able to negotiate the process with confidence.
More support and advocacy support services for victims
Some responses place a strong value on the role of support and advocacy services for victims including the services provided by Victim Support.
Having an independent sexual violence advocate that walks with the person from beginning to end (formal legal process) who is independent of MOJ, but linked in with Restorative justice is critical. It can solve a lot of their issues and cushion the impact of the system on the victim. Their role has significant counselling, advocacy skills, understanding the law.
Nationwide communication with victims, explanation of process, not just notification.
Several responses emphasise the role of restorative approaches to justice in enabling victims to engage in a dialogue with the offender in a supportive environment.
Restorative justice should have justice restored to the person who has been wronged. The victim should have a say in how they can have their mana made intact again.
RJ at different times (when people are ready) including when both offender and victim are ready.
Have a range of options that victims can elect including restorative justice options…