Declaration of Principles (simple)
Victims of crime have rights
1. A victim should be treated with kindness and respect.
You can tell people at the police station, hospital or a government department what happened to you. The staff there will listen to you and try to help you.
2. You have the right to be told about services that can help you and how to contact them.
The police or hospital staff should tell you about special services that help victims of crime. You can talk with staff at these special services. Talking can help you feel better.
3. The police will try to find out more about what happened to you and who was involved. This is called an investigation.
You can ask the police to tell you what they know. They should answer your questions. There may be things the police can not tell you. They cannot tell you things that might stop the crime being solved.
If the police find the person who hurt you or your property, you can ask them what the person’s name is and what they are in trouble for (this is called the charge).
There will be no court hearing if the police cannot find the person who hurt you or your property. You can still get help from the special services who help victims of crime.
4. You have a right to know what is happening to the person who hurt you or your property.
The person who hurt you may be charged with a crime. You can talk to the prosecutor about what will happen next. The prosecutor is a lawyer who works for the government. You can ask the prosecutor if that person will be allowed to go home. This is called bail. The person may be put in jail until the next court date. This is called remand.
The bail authority is the person who decides whether the charged person can go home (bail) or go to jail (remand). You can tell the police if you are scared this person may hurt you again. You have a right to know what the bail authority says. The bail authority can tell the person who hurt you not to come near you again.
5. You have a right to know if the person who hurt you is not charged.
If the person hurt you badly, the prosecutor should talk to you if the person will not need to go to court or the charge is changed. You can ask why this happened.
6. You have a right to know when the person who hurt you is going to court.
You will be sent a letter to tell you when the person who hurt you is going to court. It is important to tell police if you change your address.
You should ask the police, the prosecutor or the court if you want to go into the courtroom. The police or the prosecutor will be able to tell you what happens in the court room.
7. You must go to court if the police tell you to go.
The court will tell you the date when you must go to court. You may have to go more than once. There are people who can go with you to court if you are scared. These people are called court companions.
8. The court may ask you to give evidence.
Giving evidence is when you tell the court what happened to you or your property. You tell your story about what happened.
9. You do not have to talk to the person who hurt you or your property.
It is best to tell someone if you are scared about seeing the person who hurt you or your property. You may be able to give evidence in another way.
10. You have a right to keep your details private from the person who hurt you or your property.
The police and court will keep your details private. They will not tell the person who hurt you where you live or your telephone number.
11. You have a right to get your property back from the police.
The police may need to keep some of your things for a while. You will get them back as soon as possible.
12. You have a right to tell the court how you felt when you were hurt.
You can tell the courts how the crime hurt you and how it changed your life. You can have your story written down so it can be given to the court. This is called a victim impact statement. There are rules about making a victim impact statement. You can ask for help to write your victim impact statement. You can ask the police or the prosecutor about the rules.
13. You have a right to ask for money (compensation) if you or your property were hurt.
A prosecutor or lawyer can help you ask for compensation.
A lawyer is someone who is trained to know the law very well. You can ask for help to find a lawyer.
14. You have a right to complain about what happened to the person who hurt you or your property
You can ask police, the prosecutor or the court for this information. There are rules about what they can tell you.
15. You have a right to complain about what happened to the person who hurt you or your property
You can complain about the court’s decision. You should talk or write to the prosecutor within 10 days of the decision or sentence. The Commissioner for Victims’ Rights can help you.
16. You can ask to be told when the person who hurt you is leaving jail.
You can ask to be told if the person who hurt you or stole your property has finished their sentence or their time in jail. You can ask whether there are any rules when the person leaves jail. This is called parole. Parole means leaving jail with rules about how to behave.
17. The Parole Board decides if the person who hurt you is allowed to leave jail early.
You can tell the Parole Board how you feel about the person leaving jail. You can say what will make you feel safe if the person who hurt you is given parole.
18. You can ask if there are any rules to stop the person from talking to you or coming near you when they are allowed to leave jail.
19. You can ask to be told if the person who hurt you escapes from jail. You can also ask to be told if the person is moved to another prison.
You must ask the Department for Correctional Services to put your name on the Victims’ Register.
Phone (08) 8226 9067
20. You have a right to complain if you are not happy about the way you have been treated.
a) First, tell the person who is helping you about the problem. Usually the problem can be fixed that way.
b) If you are still not happy with their answer, you can ask the person to tell you how to make a complaint to their department. You can ask a friend or worker to help you make the complaint.
c) You can contact the Commissioner for Victims’ Rights if you need help to make your complaint. It is the Commissioner’s job to help you with your complaint and tell you what can be done.