13 September, 2012
Further funding puts victims first
Justice Minister Judith Collins today announced an extra $1million each year to extend the Victims Centre project until June 2014.
The Centre, created within the Ministry of Justice in 2011, helps victims access the resources and support services they need from Government agencies.
“Navigating the justice system hasn’t always been as straightforward and supportive as it could be for victims of crime,” Ms Collins says.
“We were concerned to hear from victims that information they received was often unclear and duplicated across agencies and they were not getting the support they needed.
“The Victims Centre has successfully delivered a number of initiatives to address these concerns and has directly supported thousands of New Zealanders.”
Over the past year, the victims information freephone line (0800 650 654) received 17,734 calls– an average of 1478 per month. A further 20,260 people have accessed support by visiting the Victims Information website, www.victimsinfo.govt.nz.
Specialist Victim Advisors talk to victims about their case, advise them about their rights in the court process, and help them participate in the court system.
The Centre is also engaging with the Government and non-Government agencies to draft a Victims Code – the first comprehensive document to outline exactly what an individual can expect if they experience crime.
Ms Collins says the Centre will be a critical point of coordination between the New Zealand Police and Corrections to ensure victims receive seamless support throughout the criminal justice system.
“This Government is committed to putting victims at the heart of our justice system. The Victims Centre will continue to play a crucial role in delivering our Better Public Services Action plan to better support victims.”
The continued funding will allow the Victims Centre to develop how the sector works with victims of crime by:
- providing a monthly newsletter to individuals and organisations who work with victims
- engaging directly with victims so that service developments reflect their experience
- promoting the Victims Code and how it will work in practice
- running regular forums with government and non-government agencies, and
- reviewing and improving grants and services managed by the Centre.