The Victims' Charter Act 2006 (the Charter) sets out principles for the way criminal justice and victims service agencies must act when dealing with victims of crime.
This means that if you are a victim of crime, you can expect to:
- be treated with courtesy, respect and dignity by police, prosecutors and victims services
- be given clear, timely and consistent information about your rights and legal and support services
- be told by police of progress in the investigation, except where this information may harm an investigation
- be told about the prosecution, including charges laid, court dates and times, court outcomes and any appeals lodged, as well as any major changes to charges or decisions (including decisions not to proceed)
- be told (upon request) about the outcome of any bail application and any special conditions of bail which are intended to protect you or your family
- have the court process explained to you, including your ability to attend relevant court proceedings and your role if you are a witness
- as far as possible, be protected from contact with, and intimidation by, the accused, their family, supporters and defence witnesses while you are at court
- make a Victim Impact Statement (external link), which will be taken into account by the judge in sentencing the offender, and get help when writing your Victim Impact Statement if you need it
- have your personal information, including home address and phone number, kept private by police, prosecutors and victims services
- have your property – if held for investigation or evidence – stored and handled in a lawful, respectful and secure manner and returned as soon as possible
- be told about any compensation from the offender or state-funded financial help that you can get
- if an adult offender is sentenced to prison for a violent crime against you, apply to be included on the Victims Register (external link).
If you are a victim of violent crime and you think a state-funded victims support service has not followed the Charter principles, you can make a complaint to a Victims’ Charter Complaints Officer at the Victims Support Agency on 1800 819 817.
Download a copy of the Charter in PDF form from the Victorian Law Today Library (external link).