There is a law in Victoria called the Victims' Charter Act (2006). It shows how criminal justice system services and victim support services should treat victims of crime.
You can expect to be treated with courtesy, respect and dignity by the police, the Office of Public Prosecutions and victim support services at all times.
This is what it means for you
- You should be treated fairly by everyone involved in your case, including the police, prosecutors and the victim services that you use.
- The police should tell you about your rights, and put you in touch with other people and services that can help you.
- The police should tell you about how they are going with the case. Sometimes, police may not be able to give you all of the details, but they should let you know why.
- The police should tell you if they have charged someone with the crime, and what will happen at court. They should also tell you court dates and times, and if you will be needed as a witness.
- Sometimes people who are charged with a crime get “bail”. This means they are let free until they have to go to court. If this happens, the police should tell you about it and what is being done to keep you safe.
- The prosecutors should tell you about how the court works, and what you have to do if you are needed as a witness.
- You have the right to be kept safe in court.
- If someone is found guilty of the crime, you can tell the judge or magistrate how you feel about what happened to you through a Victim Impact Statement.
- Your name and personal information should be kept private by the police, prosecutors and the victim services that you use.
- If you give your property to police for the investigation or as evidence, they should make sure that it is looked after and given back to you.
- If you are a victim of a violent crime, you should be told about any compensation you can get from the person who committed the crime. You can also apply for financial assistance from the Government.
- If the person who committed the crime goes to jail, you can choose to be told when they will get out by putting your name on the Getting information about the offender. You may be able to have a say about them leaving jail.
Making a complaint
The agencies you deal with do their best to give you a high standard of service. If you believe any of the Victims' Charter principles have not been followed in your case, you also have the right to make a complaint.
Call the Victims' Charter Enquiries and Complaints Line on 1800 118 728. The Enquiries and Complaints Line is for people affected by violent crime.
The Enquiries and Complaints Line can:
- try to resolve your complaint by mediating between you and the person or organisation who is the focus of your complaint
- talk about your options for making a more formal complaint if you're not happy with the result.
Many complaints are sorted out very quickly.
The Enquiries and Complaints Line can't:
- change a decision made by a judge, magistrate or tribunal member
- investigate a complaint which is already being investigated by another organisation
- investigate a complaint which is not covered by the Victims' Charter
For more information, call the Victims' Charter Enquiries and Complaints Line on 1800 118 728.