There is a law in Victoria called the Victims’ Charter Act 2006. It states how criminal justice system services and victim support services should treat victims of crime.
It says that:
- you should be treated with courtesy, respect and dignity by everyone involved in your case, including the police, prosecutors and the victim services that you use
- the police should tell you about your entitlements and the services available to you and connect you with those services if you would like to use them
- the police should tell you about how they are going with your case. Sometimes, police may not be able to give you all of the details if it can affect the investigation
- the police should tell you if they have charged someone with the crime and what will happen at court. This should include court dates and times and if you will be needed as a witness
- sometimes people who are charged with a crime get bail. This means they are let free until they have to go to court. If this happens, the police should tell you about it and what is being done to keep you safe
- the prosecutor should tell you about how the court works and what you have to do if you are needed as a witness
- you should be kept safe in court
- if someone is found guilty of the crime, you can tell the judge or magistrate how you feel about what happened to you through a Victim Impact Statement
- your name and personal information should be kept private by the police, prosecutors and the victim services that you use
- if you give your property to police for the investigation or as evidence, they should make sure that it is looked after and given back to you.
- if you are a victim of a violent crime, you should be told about any compensation you can get from the person who committed the crime. You can also apply for financial assistance from the government.
- if the person who committed the crime goes to prison, you can choose to be told when they will get out by putting your name on the Victims Register. You may be able to have a say about them leaving prison.
Making a complaint
The agencies you deal with do their best to give you a high standard of service. If you believe any of the Victims' Charter principles have not been followed in your case, you also have the right to make a complaint.
Call the Victims of Crime Helpline on 1800 819 817 and ask for the Victims’ Charter Complaints Officer. This service is for people affected by violent crime.
The Victims’ Charter Complaints Officer can:
- try to resolve your complaint by mediating between you and the person or organisation who is the focus of your complaint
- talk about your options for making a more formal complaint if you're not happy with the result.
Many complaints are sorted out very quickly.
The Victims’ Charter Complaints Officer can't:
- change a decision made by a judge, magistrate or tribunal member
- investigate a complaint which is already being investigated by another organisation
- investigate a complaint which is not covered by the Victims' Charter
For more information, call the Victims of Crime Helpline on 1800 819 817 and ask for the Victims’ Charter Complaints Officer.
Victoria's Victims of Crime Commissioner
The Victims of Crime Commissioner aims to improve services and systems in government departments, victims service providers and the justice system to meet the needs of victims of crime.
If you want to report an issue with the justice system or a victims service provider that is likely to be ongoing and affect many victims of crime, you can visit the Victims of Crime Commissioner website , or call the Victims of Crime Commissioner on 1800 010 017.