It’s very common for people who are charged with a crime to get bail. This means the accused person is released until the court case starts, but they have to follow rules (called 'conditions') made by the court.
Some common rules for being on bail are:
- agreeing to come to court when the case starts
- not contacting you or other witnesses
- having counselling or medical treatment
- living at a particular address
- regularly reporting to a police station.
If the accused person doesn’t follow the rules, bail can be taken away. The police may apply to the court to take away bail, and will return the accused person to custody.
The accused person must apply for bail
The accused person won't get bail automatically, they have to apply for it. They can apply for bail at any stage between being charged with committing the crime and the date that the case goes to court.
If they don't get bail the first time, they can apply again. They must show the court that there are new facts and circumstances since the first time they applied.
Before granting bail, the court should consider how you feel about the accused person being released. If you're worried that the accused person may threaten or harm you or your family if they are released on bail, talk to the police investigator as soon as possible before bail is granted.
The police investigator should tell you:
- if the person accused of committing the crime against you is released on bail
- any conditions that protect you or your family from the accused person.
You have to tell the police investigator for the case that you want to get this information.
Even if the person has confessed to the police that they committed the crime, they can still be released on bail. This is because the law in Victoria says that people are innocent until they are proven guilty at court.
Bail applications can be refused
Bail may be refused if the police or the courts believe that there is an unacceptable risk that the accused person might:
- not appear in court
- commit further offences while on bail
- endanger the safety or welfare of the public
- interfere with witnesses for the court case.
Your safety is important and there are things that can be done to improve it. Read more about keeping safe, or call the Victims of Crime Helpline on 1800 819 817 for information, advice and support.