Declaration of Principles Governing Treatment of Victims

The need for the Declaration arises out of local, national and international concern about the position of victims of crime in the criminal justice system.The principles are not enforceable in criminal or civil proceedings; do not give rise to any right to damages for breach; and do not affect the conduct of criminal proceedings. However, public agencies and officials are authorised and required to have regard, and to give effect, to the principles so far as it is practicable to do so having regard to the other obligations binding on them. 


Index    

Principle: 1  l  2 l  3  l   4  l  5  l  6  l  7  l  8  l  9  l  10  l  11  l  13  l  14  l  16  l  17  l  18  l  19  l  20 


 Principle 1

A victim should be treated 

(a) with courtesy, respect and sympathy; and

(b) with due regard to any special need that arises-

(i) because of the victim's-

        • age; or
        • sex; or
        • race or ethnicity; or
        • cultural or linguistic background; or

(ii) for any other reason.

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Principle 2 

A victim should be informed about health and welfare services that may be available to alleviate the consequences of injury suffered as a result of the offence.

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Principle 3   

A victim should be informed, on request, about:

(a) the progress of investigations into the offence;

(b) the charge laid and details of the place and date of proceedings on the charge;

(c) if a person has been charged with the offence the name of the alleged offender.

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Principle 4   

A victim should be informed, on request, if an application for bail is made by the alleged offender—the outcome of the application.

If a police officer or a person representing the Crown in bail proceedings is made aware that the victim feels a need for protection from the alleged offender—

(a) the police officer or other person must ensure that the perceived need for protection is brought to the attention of the bail authority; and

(b) reasonable efforts must be made to notify the victim of the outcome of the bail proceedings and, in particular, any condition imposed to protect the victim from the alleged offender (unless the victim indicates that he or she does not wish to be so informed)

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Principle 5    

A victim should be informed, on request, if the prosecutor decides not to proceed with the charge, to amend the charge, or to accept a plea to a lesser charge or agrees with the defendant to make or support a recommendation for leniency—the reasons for the prosecutor's decision;

A victim of a serious offence should be consulted before any decision is made—

(a)  to charge the alleged offender with a particular offence; or

(b)  to amend a charge; or

(c)  to not proceed with a charge; or

(d)  to apply under Part 8A of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 for an investigation into the alleged offender's mental competence to commit an offence or mental fitness to stand trial.

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Principle 6   

A victim of an offence is entitled to be present in the courtroom during proceedings for the offence unless the court, in accordance with some other Act or law, orders otherwise.

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Principle 7    

A victim should only be asked to attend proceedings related to the offence if the victim's attendance is genuinely necessary.

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Principle 8    

A victim who is to be a witness for the prosecution at the trial of the offence should be informed by the prosecution about the trial process and the victim's rights and responsibilities as a witness for the prosecution.

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Principle 9    

A victim should be protected as far as practicable from unnecessary contact with the alleged offender and defence witnesses during the course of the trial and in proceedings under this Act.

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Principle 10   

There should be no unnecessary intrusion on a victim's privacy.  In particular, a victim's residential address should not be disclosed unless it is material to the prosecution or defence.

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Principle 11   

If a victim's property is taken for investigation or for use as evidence, the property should, if practicable, be returned to the victim as soon as it appears that it is no longer required for the purposes for which it was taken.

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Principle 12    

A victim is entitled to have any injury, loss or damage suffered as a result of the offence considered by the sentencing court before it passes sentence.

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Principle 13   

A victim should have access to information about how to obtain compensation or restitution for harm suffered as a result of the offence.

If the prosecutor is empowered to make an application for restitution or compensation on behalf of a victim in criminal proceedings—

(a) the prosecutor should bring that fact to the attention of the victim; and

(b) should, if asked to do so by the victim—

  1. make the application on the victim's behalf; and

  2. bring to the attention of the court any relevant information provided by the victim in   connection with the application.

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Principle 14     

A victim should be informed, on request, about:

(a) the outcome of the proceedings based on the charge and of any appeal from those proceedings;

(b) details of any sentence imposed on the offender for the offence.

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Principle 15  

A victim who is dissatisfied with a determination (for example the sentence) made in relation to the relevant criminal proceedings (being a determination against which the prosecution is entitled to appeal) may request the prosecution to consider an appeal against the determination.  A victim must make this request within 10 days after the making of the determination.  The prosecution must then give due consideration to that request.

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Principle 16   

A victim should be informed, on request

(a) if the release of the offender into the community is imminent—details of when the offender is to be released.

(b) if the offender was ordered to undertake community service — whether the offender completed the community service; and

(c) if the offender was subject to a bond—whether the conditions of the bond were complied with.

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Principle 17  

A victim of an offence is entitled to make written submissions to the Parole Board on questions affecting the parole of a person imprisoned for the offence.

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Principle 18  

A victim should be informed, on request:

(a) if the offender is sentenced to imprisonment and later makes an application for release on parole—the outcome of the proceedings and, in particular, any condition imposed to protect the victim from the offender.

(b) if the offender is subject to a supervision order under Part 8A of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (which applies to mentally incompetent offenders) and the offender, or any other person, later makes an application for variation or revocation of the 20 order or an application for review of the supervision order is made — the outcome of the proceedings and, in particular, if the offender is released on licence, any conditions imposed on the licence.

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Principle 19  

A victim should be informed, on request:

(a) if the offender absconds before trial — the fact that he or she has absconded;

(b) if the offender escapes from custody — the fact that he or she has escaped;

(c) if the offender, having escaped from custody, is returned to custody—the fact that he or she has been returned to custody.

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Principle 20

A victim should be informed, on request, about procedures that may be available to deal with a grievance the victim may have for non-recognition or inadequate recognition of the victim's rights under this Declaration.

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