Victims have different needs
The principles in the Victims Code of Rights apply to all victims and all victims should have the same set of expectations based on those principles. But how do individual victims know whether agencies have lived up to those principles in their own particular case?
Agencies and providers should apply the principles of the Code to each victim taking into account that victim’s particular needs. Some of the important ways that individual victims might be treated differently from each other should be based on whether:
- they are young or old
- they are more comfortable reading, writing and listening in a language that is not English
- they are Māori or non-Māori
- they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex
- they are supported by family and friends or specialist providers or no one
- they were victimised last week, last month or 20 years ago
- they were victimised at home or in public
- victimisation was a one-off event or part of a pattern
- they have told someone or no one about what happened to them
- they are vulnerable or coping.
Improving outcomes for Maori victims is, in my mind, a prime opportunity for all stakeholders to embody the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi/Te Tiriti o Waitangi. The principles of good governance (kawanatanga), protection of rangatiratanga, and partnership underpin a Treaty obligation to prevent Maori victimisation.
The good governance obligation obliges equal protection of the rights of all citizens, which must include the justice sector objective of keeping people safe. The protection of rangatiratanga principle obliges the Crown to protect Maori authority and culture, which must include Maori social institutions, including family formation and whanau empowerment. The partnership principle obliges Government to act in collaboration with Maori.
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