The Victims of Crime Guidelines
Western Australia recognises the rights of victims of crime through an act of State Parliament. The Victims of Crime Act 1994 has 12 guidelines to protect and support victims of crime.
These guidelines outline how a victim of crime should be treated by all Government departments, as well as any person or agency contracted by the Government to work with victims of crime (excluding private legal officers and medical practitioners). If you believe that a service provider has not met your needs as aligned with the Guidelines, then you are able to make a complaint.
The 12 guidelines are as follows:
- All victims should be treated with courtesy, compassion and respect
A victim should be treated with courtesy and compassion and with respect for the victim’s dignity.
- Victims should have access to counselling
A victim should be given access to counselling about the availability of welfare, health, medical and legal assistance services and criminal injuries compensation.
- Protection by law
Victims should be informed about what protection the law can offer against violence and intimidation by the offender.
- Inconvenience to victims should be minimised
The process to resolve cases may be long and complex and may involve investigations, charges, a trial, sentencing and an appeal. Evidently some inconvenience is inevitable, but victims should expect it to be kept to a minimum. Wherever possible, victims’ needs should be addressed by the government agency concerned.
- Privacy of victims is protected
It is vital that the privacy of victims is protected as they deal with Government agencies. However, agencies may share your information in some circumstances to improve the level of service you receive. Where appropriate, you should identify yourself as a victim and ask for the service that will make you feel more comfortable. For example, victims have the right to have discussions in a private interview room.
- Staying informed as a victim
As a victim of crime, you can request to be kept informed about:
- the progress of the investigation into the offence (except where to do so may jeopardise the investigation)
- charges laid
- any bail application made by the offender
- variations to the charges and the reasons for variations.
- Staying informed as a witness
As a victim who is also a witness in the trial of the offender, you should be informed about the trial process and your role as a witness in the prosecution of the offence.
- Sentence and appeals
As a victim, you can ask to be informed about any sentence or order imposed on the offender, as a result of the trial and about any appeal and the result of any appeal.
- Return of Property
A victim’s property held by the State or the police for the purposes of investigation or evidence should be returned as soon as possible.
- Supervised release
Arrangements should be made so that a victim's views and concerns can be considered when a decision is being made about whether or not to release the offender from custody (except at the end of a term of imprisonment).
- Offender release
As a victim, you can ask to be informed about the impending release of the offender from custody and about the Community Justice Centre branch where the offender has to report. You can arrange to be informed of these matters by contacting the Victim Notification Registry.
- Offender escape
As a victim, you can ask to be informed of any escape from custody by the offender. You can arrange to be informed of these matters by contacting the Victim Notification Registry.
How to make a complaint
If you believe that any WA government department, or any person (excluding private legal officers and medical practitioners) or non-government agency funded by the State to provide services to victims of crime, has not acted in accordance with the Victims of Crime Guidelines, you have the right to make a complaint.
It is always recommended that the first step is to contact the agency directly, unless you do not feel comfortable doing so.
If you give the Office of the Commissioner for Victims of Crime authority to speak to the agency, they may be able to resolve the issue on your behalf. The office aims to do so within a 21 day period. However depending on the type of complaint, it may take longer.
If you choose not to provide this authority, then the Office of the Commissioner for Victims of Crime is not able to act on your behalf.
The matter will ,however, be noted and used for reporting and identifying trends. If the complaint is about the Office of the Commissioner for Victims of Crime, it will be forwarded onto the Director General’s office for further investigation. Complete a complaint form (PDF 252KB) (use Adobe PDF Reader to complete and submit the form).
If your complaint is in relation to a service provided to a child or young person who is the victim of crime, you may refer the matter to Commissioner for Children and Young People.
If you remain dissatisfied with how a complaint has been dealt with, refer the matter to the Ombudsman of Western Australia.