Our office has released it's 2019-20 annual report.
The Commissioner for Victims’ Rights has supported more South Australian victims, with the office receiving more than 1,500 enquiries over the last 12 months.
Commissioner for Victims’ Rights Bronwyn Killmier said their team had seen a noticeable increase in demand.
“After an initial drop due to COVID-19, from May to June of this year, we saw a 30% increase in demand for our services,” she said.
“A lot of those are general queries about the criminal justice process, but we’ve also seen a big increase in the number of questions relating to compensation.”
According to their 2019-20 Annual Report, the office also received 137 requests from victims seeking advocacy and 363 applications for discretionary payments.
The last financial year also saw the office involved in 40 submissions to the Parole Board for life-sentenced prisoners.
“This is a huge part of the work we do – over the last 12 months, that has meant contacting nearly 600 co-victims to gain their views, collating them into final submissions to the Parole Board, then getting back in touch to advise them of the outcome,” she said.
The Commissioner said she was also continuing to work with other agencies to resolve more than 80 grievances from victims.
“Most of these complaints were from victims saying they weren’t kept informed about their cases or consulted when charges were downgraded, withdrawn or not proceeded with,” she said.
“Unfortunately, the current legislation only requires agencies to provide information if they are requested to do so – of course, if a victim doesn’t know this, they don’t make the request.
“We have been advocating for this to change for some time – victims’ rights have been in place for nearly two decades, and I think it’s safe to say that collectively, we can do better for victims.”
Alongside the annual report, the Commissioner’s office has recently launched its new website, aimed at helping better explain the criminal justice process for victims.
“Not only have we given the site a much-deserved facelift, we’ve spent a long time making sure the information is easy to find and understand,” she said.
“Anyone can be a victim of crime, so it’s incredibly important that this information is accessible for everyone.”
The 2019-20 annual report is available to view and download on the new Commissioner for Victims’ Rights website.