Agencies and the Victims’ Charter
The Victims’ Charter sets out principles for how agencies should treat victims and their family members.
As agencies, through proactively meeting your obligation to comply with the Victims’ Charter, you can minimise the harms of secondary victimisation that many victims experience in the justice and victims’ services systems.
The Victims’ Charter aims to reduce secondary victimisation and increase victim participation in the justice system through the principles set out for investigatory, prosecuting and victims’ services agencies in engaging with victims of crime. These principles require you to ensure victims:
- Are treated with dignity, respect and courtesy.
- Have a say in the way they are communicated with, and have the information they need to engage with the justice system.
- Receive what they are entitled to during investigation, prosecution and court processes.
The Victims’ Charter principles are a mix of high-level statements and detailed obligations. If your agency does not comply with the principles in the Victims’ Charter and people adversely affected by crime are not satisfied with how your agency responds to their concerns, victims can request I carry out a complaint review. I also report annually on how your agency complies with the Victims’ Charter.
Is your agency required to comply?
If you or your agency is one of the following, then you are required to comply.
- An entity established under an enactment that is responsible for the provision of services to persons adversely affected by crime.
- A public official within the meaning of the Public Administration Act 2004 who is responsible for the provision of services to persons adversely affected by crime.
- An entity that is publicly funded to provide services to persons adversely affected by crime.
If your agency is required to comply with the Victims’ Charter, then it will be classified as an:
- An investigatory agency.
- A prosecution agency.
- A victims’ services agency.
Victoria Police and WorkSafe are categorised as both investigatory and prosecution agencies.
The Office of Public Prosecutions is the only other prosecuting agency. Other agencies required to comply with the Victims’ Charter are victims’ services agencies.
The Victims’ Charter sets out principles that apply to all investigatory, prosecuting and victims’ services agencies in Victoria. It defines these types of agencies broadly.
The following table outlines some examples of victims' services agencies that are required to comply with the Victims’ Charter:
Examples of agencies subject to the Victims’ Charter
Victims’ services agencies
A person or body responsible for developing criminal law policy, victims’ services policy, the administration of criminal justice or the administration of victims’ services must, where relevant, have regard to the Victims’ Charter principles.
Agencies that provide victims’ services in courts have obligations to comply with specific Victims’ Charter principles, but the Victims’ Charter does not explicitly apply to judicial officers or defence lawyers operating in the courtroom.
The Victims’ Charter does not specifically mention forensic service agencies such as the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, or the Coroners Court of Victoria and its officers.