Victims Code key part of putting victims’ rights firstJustice
Justice Minister Amy Adams today launched a new Victims Code as part of the Government’s work to better support victims of crime.
Ms Adams launched the initiative at the Red Raincoat Trust's annual victims conference in Napier today.
The Victims Code formally sets out how victims can expect to be treated by the people, agencies and groups who are working to help them, and will also explain their rights under the Victims’ Rights Act.
“We want to ensure that victims who end up in the justice sector through no fault of their own know their rights and what services are available to them during what is often a very difficult time,” Ms Adams says.
The Code clearly explains what victims can expect from the services provided by criminal justice agencies at each stage of the criminal justice process.
It brings together 11 rights, including the right to be informed, to make a victim impact statement, to receive notifications after sentencing, to be informed about and express your views on bail, and the right to make a submission relating to parole or extended supervision orders.
“We consulted widely on the development of the code including with organisations who represent victims as well as population groups that are most impacted by crime.
“Our aim is to ensure that victims’ experience with the justice sector is as stress free as possible. One way of doing this is to improve the way justice services and information is provided to victims.
“We’ve also created a transparent complaints process to hold Government agencies that work closely with victims to account. They’ll be required to record and report annually on all complaints about rights contained in the Code.”
The Code is available on the newly-updated victims information website www.victimsinfo.govt.nz. From October 1 the Victims of Crime Information Line will also be extended to operate 24/7.
Ms Adams will also soon announce the appointment of the Chief Victims Advisor to Government as part of the wider work programme to support victims.
“Putting victims first is one of the Government’s key priorities. Making the justice system more responsive and easier to navigate is part of a wider strategy to improve services put victims at the centre of decision-making.”