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Obligations under the Victims’ Charter

The Victims’ Charter ratifies the United Nations’ Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime into Victorian Law.

Specific justice agencies and victims’ services have obligations to treat victims and persons adversely affected by crime in line with the principles outlined in the Victims’ Charter.

The objectives of the Victims’ Charter should be considered when applying any of its principles in practice:

  • Recognise the impact of crime on victims, including the impact on victims' families, witnesses and in some cases, the broader community.
  • Recognise that all persons adversely affected by crime, regardless of whether they report the offence, should be treated with respect and should be offered certain information to help with the recovery process.
  • Recognise that a victim of crime has an inherent interest in the response by the criminal justice system to that crime.
  • Acknowledge the victim's role as a participant, but not a party, in proceedings for criminal offences.
  • Help reduce the likelihood of secondary victimisation by the criminal justice system.

The principles of the Victims’ Charter

The Victims’ Charter, or Victims Charter Act 2006, provides principles to ensure persons adversely affected by crime (i.e., victims or witnesses to a criminal offence) are acknowledged, respected and provided with necessary support.

The Victims’ Charter contains principles that very broadly require agencies to:

  • Treat victims with courtesy, respect and dignity.
  • Have regard to victims who experience specific barriers to the justice system.
  • Provide information about services, entitlements and assistance.
  • Communicate with and respond to victims in a way that recognises their preferences and needs.
  • Protect victims’ personal information.
  • Respond to complaints from victims who believe an agency has breached the Victims’ Charter.

To aid in the understanding of which principles apply to your agency, below are links that detail the principles for each agency type:

Additionally, the Commissioner has established guidelines for the Victims’ Charter. These guidelines set out good practice in relation to policies, processes, staff training and competence-building to properly discharge their obligations to victims and those adversely affected by crime.

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