If you’ve become a victim of crime and believe an organisation you are dealing with has failed to follow the Victims’ Charter principles, you may be able to make a complaint to us.

The Victims of Crime Commissioner reviews complaints made by victims about certain organisations’ compliance with the Victims’ Charter.

What it means to make a complaint under the Victims’ Charter

The Victims’ Charter Act 2006 sets out principles about the way victims of crime should be treated by:

  • organisations and people authorised by law to investigate a criminal offence (for example, Victoria Police)
  • organisations and people authorised by law to prosecute criminal offences (for example, the Office of Public Prosecutions for Victoria and Victoria Police)
  • public organisations and public officials who provide services to victims of crime (for example, the Victims of Crime Helpline operated by the Department of Justice and Community Safety)
  • non-government organisations that receive public funding to provide services to victims of crime (for example, Victims Assistance Program providers, family violence services and centres against sexual assault).

If an organisation does not follow the Victims’ Charter principles, a victim can make a complaint. These organisations must have accessible, transparent complaints systems in place in order to receive and resolve any complaints received under the Victims’ Charter.

Read more about the Victims’ Charter principles.

Do you have a right to make a complaint?

If you are a victim and you believe that an organisation you are dealing with has failed to follow the Victims’ Charter principles, you have a right to complain to the organisation about that.

The organisation should tell you about your right to make a complaint under the Victims’ Charter, and your right to ask us to review it if you are not satisfied with their response.

When can we review a Victims’ Charter complaint?

Generally, we can review a complaint if:

  • you are a victim of crime or a victim’s nominated representative
  • you are a family member of a person who has died, or who is under 18 years of age, or who is incapable of managing their own affairs due to mental impairment
  • your complaint is about an organisation we can look into
  • your complaint is about a failure to follow the Victims’ Charter principles
  • you have complained to the organisation on or after 4 November 2019 (when changes were made to the Victims of Crime Commissioner Act (External link)).

We usually only look at complaints about problems that have occurred within a year of the victim asking us to review the complaint.

If your complaint relates to a problem that happened before that time, please call the Office directly on 1800 010 017 and we can provide you with more information.

 

What we can and can't do

What we can do about a complaint

We may recommend an organisation take any of these actions:

  • make an apology
  • offer an explanation
  • engage in a facilitated meeting with the victim
  • engage staff in further training
  • change an organisational policy
  • provide information to the victim.

What we can’t do

While we can make recommendations, we can’t force anyone to carry out our recommendations.

We also can’t recommend that an organisation:

  • fire or ‘strike off’ (meaning to remove from an official register) someone
  • pay compensation
  • cancel or change a decision it is entitled to make as part of its responsibilities, or replace its decision with our own.

What if we can't review a complaint?

If your matter does not meet the statutory requirements for us to review it as a Victims’ Charter complaint, we might still be able to help. Sometimes we can:

  • bring the issue to the attention of the relevant organisation
  • deal with the issue through the Commissioner’s other functions, such as by carrying out an inquiry on an issue affecting victims of crime
  • refer you to another body.
 

Before you come to us

By law, you need to complain to the organisation you are unhappy with before we can assess your complaint. This is a chance for the organisation to look into your concerns and put things right for you. If you are not satisfied with the organisation’s response, you can ask us to consider your complaint.

If the organisation does not reply to your complaint in the time or the way that it said it would, you can contact us and we will look at how we can help.

Get advice and support to make your complaint

We recommend you look at resources by the Victorian Ombudsman, including Tips for making a complaint to Victorian public sector bodies (External link).

You can also call us for advice about how to make your Victims’ Charter complaint on 1800 010 017.

Is your complaint about an organisation we can look into?

We can only consider your complaint if it is about particular people and organisations required to follow the principles in the Victims’ Charter, including:

  • organisations and people authorised by law to investigate a criminal offence (for example, Victoria Police)
  • organisations and people authorised by law to prosecute criminal offences (for example, the Office of Public Prosecutions for Victoria and Victoria Police)
  • public organisations and public officials who provide services to victims of crime (for example, the Victims of Crime Helpline operated by the Department of Justice and Community Safety)
  • non-government organisations that receive public funding to provide services to victims of crime (for example, Victims Assistance Program providers, family violence services and centres against sexual assault).

If you are unsure if we can look into the organisation your complaint is about, call us on 1800 010 017.

If your complaint is about another type of organisation not covered by the Victims’ Charter, we might be able to help in other ways.

 

What to expect

Our commitment

We are committed to providing an accessible and responsive complaints service that is:

  • free and independent
  • open and transparent
  • evidence-based
  • focussed on practical and meaningful outcomes
  • sensitive to the needs of all people who have been affected by crime.

What you can expect

When we receive your complaint we look at the information you provided. We will then check if we can consider the complaint and let you know in writing what our decision is, including our reasons for any conclusions we reach. If we do not intend to consider your complaint further, we will explain why and, where possible, provide you with information about other available options. 

We may also ask the organisation you are unhappy with for some information about the complaint. Find out more about our approach to privacy and protecting your information.

We will handle your complaint in a professional manner. Our staff are expected to be courteous, respectful and responsive in all their communications.

Keeping you informed

We will tell you when we have received your complaint, keep you updated on our progress, and let you know the outcome once we have finished looking into the matter.

How long will it take?

We aim to:

  • acknowledge receipt of your complaint, tell you who is handling your complaint and give you their contact details within 5 working days
  • provide you with a progress update on your complaint every 3 weeks, unless there are circumstances when it is not practical or appropriate to do so. 

How you can help us

To help us handle your complaint or answer your questions, it is helpful if you can give us:

  • your name and contact details. You can submit a complaint anonymously, but if you do we might not be able to tell you about our consideration of your complaint. Please see our Privacy page for more information.
  • a clear summary of your complaint including a brief explanation of what you complained to the organisation about, what their response was and why you were not satisfied with their response.
  • the outcome you are seeking by contacting us.