The Victims of Crime Commissioner believes that a legislated spent convictions scheme should balance rehabilitation and reintegration into the community with victims’ needs and the objectives of the Victims’ Charter, including recognising the:
- impact of crime on victims
- ways the criminal justice can cause secondary victimisation for victims
- inherent interests that victims have in the criminal justice system.
The Victims of Crime Commissioner has concerns about the inclusion of serious violence and sexual offences as part of the proposed scheme.
Given the long-lasting effects that serious violence can have on victims, the Victims of Crime Commissioner believes the scheme should acknowledge the impact of such crimes on victims, including their recovery and potential ongoing safety fears.
The Victims of Crime Commissioner also advocates for a trauma-informed victim notification and participation mechanism. Such a scheme would allow victims the opportunity to provide an updated victim impact statement or make a submission about a spent conviction application where this is their wish. This gives victims the choice whether they wish to be notified and have their say.
It is vital that at each step of the criminal justice system that victims are informed, consulted and have a mechanism for their voice to be heard.