Commissioners for Victims of Crime – Do we need them?

Ms Kati Kraszlan1, Ms Heidi Yates2, Ms Bronwyn Killmier3

1Department Of Justice, Perth, Australian,

2Human Rights Comission, Canberra, Australia,

3Commisioner for Victim Rights, Adelaide, Australia

Victims have traditionally been excluded from having a decision making role in the criminal justice system and they are not always considered to be an equal participant in the system. Victims are diverse and it is this diversity which can result in the difficulties that jurisdictions experience in focusing attention on their specific needs.   In an effort to address the needs of victims a number of jurisdictions have Acts which outline the rights of victims and corresponding victims of crime commissioner.  These commissioners’ are often considered to be uniquely placed to ensure that the rights of victims are upheld and that there is a victim voice in the development of criminal justice and social policy.

This symposium will provide an overview of three different models of a victims of crime commissioner. Western Australia, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory have all created a specific commissioner positon, but each is significantly different, with different powers and legislative frameworks. The speakers will discuss the benefits and limitations of their particular model and how they see the future of these positions. During the course of the discussion each commissioner will focus on the need for ongoing research so that victim policy and services is firmly grounded in an  evidence based perspective.


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