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Policy position

An enhanced victim support system

The Victims of Crime Commissioner urges the Victorian Government to commit to funding an enhanced victim support system that better meets victims’ needs

Victims have told the Victims of Crime Commissioner that they are not getting the right support at the right time to help them recover from crime.  

Victims have told the Victims of Crime Commissioner that:  

  • services feel like referral agencies, rather than providing meaningful assistance 
  • services are not connected  
  • services are not specialised or tailored to specific needs  
  • there are lengthy waiting periods for services and victims feel rushed through the system when they finally do receive support.  

Multiple Victorian reviews and inquiries have found that the current victim support system is falling short for victims with findings that the victim support system is a ‘one-size-fits-all’ system that is falling short of what victims need. Reviews of the system has found that: 

  • many victims struggle to access specialist services 
  • the current system is not configured to provide victims with a single point of contact, meaning some victims have to continually re-tell their story  
  • victims of crime receiving disjointed or disconnected support or support that falls short of the intensity of support required   
  • lack of culturally safe support options available to victims of crime who are Aboriginal or from culturally and linguistically diverse communities. 

Victims need, and deserve, a properly resourced victim support system that can provide the type of support they need including in duration, intensity and specialisation.  

The Victorian Government must commit to rebuilding and properly funding a comprehensive victim support system that that is flexible, responsive and meets the diverse needs of victims of crime.  

Victims need a stronger case management approach, tailored to their needs and flexible to the changing nature of recovery from crime including:   

  • immediate place-based support and assistance to victims reporting crime available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week  
  • a more sophisticated referrals process to help victims to get connected to timely support  
  • a single point of contact throughout their journey 
  • specialist streams of assistance and intensive support for high or specific needs 
  • culturally safe support 
  • comprehensive independent legal advice and assistance. 

The Victims of Crime Commissioner urges the Victorian Government to design, implement and properly fund an enhanced victim support system to better meets victims’ needs.   

To ensure victims are aware of the support available, this should be complemented by a: 

  • comprehensive branding and community awareness campaign for the victim support system 
  • review of the victim support e-referral system to implement any necessary changes to ensure victims are being routinely referred to victim support at relevant points of the justice process. 

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