Your rights as a victim
The ACT has legislated to protect the rights of Victims in the Victims of Crime Act 1994. That Act provides for the following governing principles for the treatment of victims:
- a victim should be dealt with at all times in a sympathetic, constructive and reassuring way and with appropriate regard to his or her personal situation, rights and dignity;
- a victim should be told at reasonable intervals (generally not more than 1 month) of the progress of police investigations about the relevant offence, except if the disclosure might jeopardise the investigation, and, in that case, the victim should be told accordingly;
- a victim should be told about the charges laid against the accused and of any modification of the charges;
- a victim should be told about any decision concerning the accused to accept a plea of guilty to a lesser charge or a guilty plea in return for a recommendation of leniency in sentencing;
- a victim should be told about any decision not to proceed with a charge against the accused;
- if any victim’s property is held by the Territory for the purposes of investigation or evidence—inconvenience to the victim should be minimised and the property returned promptly;
- a victim should be told about the trial process and of the rights and responsibilities of witnesses;
- a victim should be protected from unnecessary contact with the accused and defence witnesses during the course of the trial;
- a victim’s home address should be withheld unless the court directs otherwise;
- a victim should not have to appear at preliminary hearings or committal proceedings unless the court directs the victim to appear;
- a victim should be given an explanation of the outcome of criminal proceedings and of any sentence and its implications;
- a victim who is known to have expressed concern about the need for protection from an offender should be told about the offender’s impending release from custody.
The DPP strives at all times to uphold these principles.