Areas of focus for the Chief Victims Advisor
Since the role was established in November 2015, the Chief Victims Advisor has focused on:
- visiting specialist courts and exploring innovative approaches to the court system to better support victims of serious crime, especially vulnerable witnesses such as children
- collecting victims’ data and conducting research to find out where there are gaps and what kinds of information need to be collected to better understand how the criminal justice system can be improved for victims
- facilitating the incorporation of a Māori victim’s voice in the development and implementation of the Māori Justice Outcomes Strategy
- consulting with key stakeholders to explore improvements to court support and services for victims, as well as looking at initiatives to address difficulties for particular victims in court, including vulnerable witnesses and victims of family and sexual violence
- exploring alternative options for justice for cases not suitable for the current court process (including because victims don’t want to engage), in particular looking at recommendations made in the Law Commission’s report ‘The Justice Response to Victims of Sexual Violence: Criminal Trials and Alternative Processes’.
The Government has made a commitment to improving services and include victims at the centre of decision-making. Since September 2015, the Government has established some key initiatives to follow through with this commitment:
- Parliament recently passed a law to help vulnerable witnesses involved in the court process.
Law passes to help vulnerable witnesses in court – beehive.govt.nz(external link)
- Reforms to legislation seek to strengthen New Zealand’s legislative response to family violence, focusing on early and effective intervention.
Early and effective intervention at heart of family violence changes – beehive.govt.nz(external link)
- A new Risk Assessment and Management Framework is being designed to improve how the Government responds to family violence and keep victims safer.
Improving how the Govt responds to family violence – beehive.govt.nz(external link)
- Earlier this year the Government launched a multi-agency family violence pilot practising innovative approaches in court to deal with cases of family violence. The pilot will be extended to a second site in Waikato.
Govt launches multi-agency family violence pilot – beehive.govt.nz(external link)
Waikato to host second site for extended family violence pilot – beehive.govt.nz(external link)
- The Minister of Justice announced an increase in funding of $16.2 million over the next 4 years to help restorative justice providers meet the growing demand for their services.
$16.2m boost for restorative justice – beehive.govt.nz(external link)
- The Government announced an increased investment of $46 million over 4 years to better support victims of sexual violence, and focus on prevention.
Budget 2016: $46m to support victims and prevent sexual violence – beehive.govt.nz(external link)
- The establishment of a Chief Victims Advisor was an important step to make sure victims are placed at the heart of decision making.
Inaugural Chief Victims Advisor to Government appointed – beehive.govt.nz(external link)
- The Victims Code was launched September 2015 to better support victims by making the justice system easier to navigate.
Victims Code key part of putting victims’ rights first – beehive.govt.nz(external link)
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