Member for Western Victoria
Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party

Review Scheme for Victims of Crime

My adjournment debate is for the Attorney General, and the action that I seek is for the Attorney to explain why the state government is denying a right to review scheme for victims of crime. A right to review scheme currently operates broadly in the UK and Scotland with great success and allows a victim to seek a review of a decision not to charge a suspect. In Victoria, although we do not have such a scheme, the victims of crime commissioner has voiced her support for such a model. We would like to see victims of crime able to appeal certain decisions within prosecuting agencies such as plea bargaining and sentence indications. This would expand upon a scheme which already exists in the Office of Public Prosecutions but is restricted to discontinuing proceedings and only for indictable offences prosecuted by that agency. Given this, we would like to see the police implementing a formal review scheme as a matter of urgency—at the very least, in the interim. As we know, most offences are heard and prosecuted by police where victims’ rights can sometimes be neglected. Victims often feel failed by our justice system when they have no right to seek a review of decisions made by prosecutors. The Victorian Law Reform Commission recommended in both 2016 and in 2021 that victims should have the right to review certain decisions via the DPP, but to date we have not seen this expanded rights review scheme accepted or acted upon. We had an amendment to legislate the right to review in the house six months ago that went to this issue, but for whatever reason it was voted against by the government, along with the Greens, Animal Justice and the Reason Party. The Attorney said at the time the VLRC report: … made a similar recommendation to provide victims of a sexual offence with the right to request an independent review of decisions by police or prosecutors … And: I absolutely commit to have further conversations with— Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party about this policy. Unfortunately, we have with heard nothing since. Six months later and we are still pushing it, with no government commitment. Attorney, I seek for you to explain why the government is not acting on implementing a right to review scheme.



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