VLRC releases consultation paper on role of victims in criminal trials

10 Aug 2015

The Victorian Law Reform Commission has released a consultation paper seeking input on its review of the role of victims in the criminal trial process.

The Commission is currently reviewing what should be the role of victims before, during and after a criminal trial. This includes victims’ role as witnesses and possible other roles. It has invited the public to make submissions by 30 September 2015. 

The Commission is consulting with victims of crime, judges and legal practitioners, and others with knowledge and experience of the issues over the next few months.

The Commission is looking at whether the victim should have a role, and if so what role, at stages of the criminal trial process including:

  • The decision to prosecute
  • The committal for trial and pre-trial proceedings
  • The trial
  • Sentencing proceedings (but not sentence levels)
  • Appeal proceedings
  • Compensation or restitution for the benefit of victims
  • Support for victims before, during and after the trial.

The Commission is not examining bail and parole proceedings, which are outside the trial process.

Chair of the Commission, the Hon. Philip Cummins AM said: “The criminal trial process needs to respect the rights of victims. Yet research from around the world tells us that often victims are dissatisfied with their experience of the criminal trial process. Victims can be retraumatised by the trial. 

“This review poses the question ‘What should be the role of victims in the criminal trial process?’ and we invite anyone with an interest in the issues to talk to us at a consultation or to make a written submission.”

The Commission will be holding consultations with organisations and interested individuals in Melbourne and regional centres.

The consultation paper is online at the Victorian Law Reform Commission website.

For more information or an interview with the Hon. Philip Cummins AM please contact: 

Nick Gadd, Communications Manager, Tel: 03 8608 7824 Mob: 0425 862 119.

Date published: 
17 Aug 2015

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