Supporting Victims Of Crime In The Justice System

07 May 2017

Victims of crime will be better protected and supported through the justice system under a suite of new measures announced by the Andrews Labor Government today.

As part of the Victorian Budget 2017/18, the Labor Government is delivering $28.5 million to boost the number of frontline staff and support services for victims, witnesses and vulnerable children.

The Government will invest $2.6 million to introduce ‘intermediaries’ – or skilled communication specialists – who will work with victims and help them to give evidence to police and in court.

The state-wide intermediary scheme will help to reduce the trauma experienced by victims, responding to recommendations from the Victorian Law Reform Commission’s (VLRC) report Victims of Crime in the Criminal Trial Process.

The Budget also delivers $6 million to strengthen the role of the Victims of Crime Commissioner to better identify and investigate any systemic issues that victims experience when in contact with the justice system.

The Alannah & Madeline Foundation will receive $1 million for its successful Cubby House program which provides children a safe place to play when attending court. A full-time youth worker will be located at the existing Cubby House at the Broadmeadows Children’s Court, and the program will be expanded to the Melbourne Children’s Court.

The Budget provides $18.9 million for the Office of Public Prosecutions (OPP) to brief the best quality representation to prosecute serious criminal matters, including carjackings, home invasions, family violence and sexual offences.

The funding will also allow the OPP to recruit more social workers to support victims before and during trials, including victims of sexual assault and family violence.

Additional funding will be provided to develop further guidance for judges and magistrates about how to better respond to the needs of victims in the courtroom, delivering on another recommendation made by the VLRC.

These investments are in addition to the $1.9 billion boost to tackle family violence and almost $80 million for additional support for the legal assistance sector, outlined in the Victorian Budget 2017/18.

The Government will ask the VLRC to extend its current reference regarding the way that the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT) engages with family violence victims to consider how to improve the experience of all people who engage with VOCAT.

The Government will also seek advice from the Sentencing Advisory Council about ways to improve court orders for compensation for victims.

Additionally the Government will begin consultation on further legislative change, including bringing serious cases before the courts more quickly, and further restricting cross examination of victims at committal hearings.

To help inform these complex changes, the Government has released a discussion paper to ensure that any reforms are made in consultation with victims, the courts and other stakeholders.

The discussion paper can be found at

Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews

"Our legal system is not working as it should when a victim is re-traumatised by the court system that is supposed to bring them justice, and we are determined to make it better."

“As well as providing more support to victims - we’re also looking at how we can streamline the court system so the most serious cases aren’t delayed and receiving rightful compensation is easier.”

Quotes attributable to Attorney-General Martin Pakula

“We want to make sure victims have the support they need to pursue their cases through the criminal trial process from start to finish.”

“The justice system can be extremely daunting, particularly for victims and children. Our measures will help to remove barriers, support victims and make the experience less traumatic.”

Quotes attributable to Victims of Crime Commissioner Greg Davies

"I have always been an enthusiastic supporter of intermediaries for the cognitively impaired and I commend the government for this initiative.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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