Principles guiding treatment of victims
The Victims Code of Rights has 8 principles as well as 11 rights.
The principles give guidance to people, organisations and government agencies that provide services to victims and tell victims what they can expect.
While they’re not legal rights and can’t be enforced, the Government has made a legislative commitment to victims by publishing a set of expectations that all people who deal with victims should feel they need to meet. It may be difficult for all providers to meet these expectations all the time, but they need to understand what they mean and how they can be used to continuously improve services and attitudes.
Victims can complain to providers about not being treated in accordance with the principles in the Code but the principles aren’t legal rights and can’t be enforced.
Agencies & providers need to listen to victims
The Code tells victims what they can expect from government agencies and other providers. For example, the Code says victims can expect to be treated with respect, courtesy and compassion. So what does respect mean? The Code says victims’ cultural, religious, ethnic and social needs, values and beliefs should be respected. Government agencies and other providers need to listen to the voices of victims to understand what respect, courtesy and compassion mean to the victims they deal with.
Here are some examples of how victims’ voices might give agencies and providers clues about what the principles of the Code mean:
|Victims Code principles||The voices of victims|
(some of these are from victims themselves)
|Dignity||“I just want my experience [of victimisation] to be acknowledged.”|
|Respect||“I want my part in the process to be acknowledged.”|
|Respect||“It would have been nice if my whānau could have been kept informed of what was going on with the investigation and the court case. They’re all really important supporters for me.”|
|Dignity & Safety||“I want the person who harmed me to apologise, and not do it to anyone else.”|
|Safety||“I want the person who harmed me to get treatment.”|
|Safety||“I feel scared walking past all [the offender’s] supporters outside the courtroom.”|
|Respect & Fairness||“I want the person who harmed me to hear about how it made me feel, and to do something to repair the damage.”|
|Respect & Information that is understandable||“I want someone to explain to me what the jargon means.”|
|Privacy & Safety||“I want to get information in a way that the person who harmed me can’t get it too.”|
|Fairness||“No, that’s not the outcome I was hoping for, but everyone tried their best for me.”|
|Respect||“The person who harmed me is the father of my children and I want to keep my family together. That’s not easy for agencies to understand, but it’s the reality of my life.”|
|Information that is understandable||“After it happened, I got calls from lots of agencies, all asking me the same question. That was confusing.”
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