Victim rights

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If you have been a victim of crime, you have rights, you are not alone and do not need to endure the pain and trauma alone. On this page you can learn about support services you can call for help and information - and about your rights as a victim of crime.

Support services for victims of crime

Talking to someone about what happened to you can be a big help - especially if you talk to someone who knows about victims’ rights and what support services are out there to help you.

You can call the Victims of Crime Helpline on 1800 819 817 for information, advice and referrals to help you manage and recover from the effects of crime. Helpline staff can also refer you to the most appropriate support agency for your needs and can contact other agencies on your behalf. The Victims of Crime Helpline is a free, confidential service. You can call the Helpline whether or not you’ve reported the crime to the police. The Helpline is staffed from 8.00am to 11.00pm, Monday to Friday (excluding Public Holidays). After hours, if you need to speak to someone immediately, please call the Helpline for details of available support services.

A translator service is available to help non-English speaking people. Just call the Victims of Crime Helpline on 1800 819 817 and the Helpline staff will set up a three-way telephone conversation with an interpreter. Helpline staff can also refer you to any culturally specific services.  There is a TTY service for the hearing impaired available on (03) 8684 6740.

The Victims of Crime Helpline can also link you up with a Victims Assistance and Counselling Program in your area.  The Victims Assistance and Counselling Program provides victims, their families or anyone affected by violent crime with access to information and practical support, which can include:

  • Counselling
  • Assistance in making a police report
  • Help completing forms
  • Access to support groups
  • Crisis response
  • Support during legal processes
  • Information about court
  • Referral to accommodation and housing services
  • Outreach/home visits.

To get in contact with your nearest Victims Assistance and Counselling Program, call the Victims of Crime Helpline on 1800 819 817 or check out the contact details online (new window).

Victims’ rights

As a victim of crime, you have rights. Victims’ rights are described in the Victims’ Charter.  The Victims’ Charter is law in Victoria.

As a victim of crime, you have the right to:

1. Be treated with courtesy, respect and dignity by all criminal justice and victim support services.

2. Be given clear, timely and consistent information about your rights and entitlements and, if appropriate, be referred to victims and legal support services.

3. Be told about the police investigation at key stages. In some cases, the police may not be able to give you all the details if it would jeopardise an investigation, in which case you should be informed accordingly.

4. Be told about the prosecution, including charges laid and any substantial changes to charges, details of court dates and times when you are required as a witness or have indicated a wish to attend, court outcomes and any appeals lodged.

5. Be told (if you request it) about the outcome of any bail application and any special conditions of bail which are intended to protect you. Your safety can also be taken into account when considering a bail application.

6. Have the court process explained to you, including your role as a witness.

7. As far as practicable, be protected from unnecessary contact with, and intimidation by, the accused and their family and supporters, as well as defence witnesses while you are at court.

8. Prepare a Victim Impact Statement which may be considered by the court in sentencing the offender, and have access to the assistance you require to prepare a Victim Impact Statement.

9. Have your personal information, including residential address and telephone number, not disclosed to anybody except in accordance with the Information Privacy Act 2000.

10. Have your property that is held for investigation or evidence stored and handled in a lawful, respectful and secure manner and, in consultation with you, returned as soon as practicable.

11. If you are the victim of a violent crime, request that the court order the offender to pay you compensation. You may also apply for financial assistance from the Government for harm resulting from a violent crime.

12. Apply to be included on the Victims Register if an adult offender is sentenced to prison for a violent crime against you, receive specific information regarding the release of the offender, and have your views taken into account by a Parole Board when any decision about parole of the offender is being considered.

If you would like to know more about your rights as a victim of crime, you can call the Victims’ Charter Enquiries and Complaints Line on 1800 118 728 or visit the Department of Justice's Victims of Crime - Your Rights page (new window).

If you have a complaint under the Victims’ Charter

The agencies who work with victims of crime do their best to provide a high standard of service. If you believe any of the principles of the Victims’ Charter have not been followed, however, you have the right to make a complaint.

To make a complaint, you can call the Victims’ Charter Enquiries and Complaints Line on 1800 118 728. An Enquiries and Complaints Officer will try to resolve your complaint by mediating between you and the agency or individual who is the focus of your complaint. In many cases, the matter can be sorted out very quickly and effectively.

If the matter is not resolved to your satisfaction, the Enquiries and Complaints Officer can also discuss your options about making a more formal complaint or written complaint to another complaints body.

An Enquiries and Complaints Officer is not able to change a decision made by a judge, magistrate or tribunal member, or investigate a complaint which is already being investigated by another agency or one which is not covered by the Victims’ Charter.

The immediate focus of the Enquiries and Complaints Line is on victims of violent crime.

Links

Victims of Crime - Victoria
Learn more about support for victims of crime, victims’ rights and the help you can expect if you come forward to report a crime.

A Victim's Guide to Support Services and the Criminal Justice System
Who can help victims of crime? What happens when a crime is investigated and prosecuted? Clear answers are provided in this booklet by the Victims Support Agency. Download it, or call the Victims of Crime Helpline (1800 819 817) for a free copy.