Mr GRIMLEY (Western Victoria) (15:21): My question is for the Attorney-General. The Victims’ Charter Act 2006 seeks to improve the experience of victims of crime by providing statutory recognition for them while setting out the minimum standards for responses across criminal justice and government agencies. The original bill was passed more than 15 years ago with bipartisan support, but there is a lack of remedy for victims of crime in cases where agencies fail to meet the charter principles as noted in the second-reading speech. Despite recommendations by the Victorian Law Reform Commission in 2016 to institute such remedies, the charter remains a toothless tiger—in other words, there is no penalty or consequence for agencies which do not comply with the charter. Ensuring compliance with the act is essential to minimise the risk that victims may be subject to as secondary victims within the justice system. Attorney, how can the Victims’ Charter Act be strengthened to ensure that it is not a toothless tiger?
Mr GRIMLEY (Western Victoria) (15:23): Thanks, Attorney-General. That was very pleasing to hear. If we go specifically to section 21 of the Victims’ Charter Act, it requires you, Attorney, to cause the department of justice to include in its annual report information about the steps taken to promote the charter principles and also a report on the operation of this act. From our reading of recent annual reports, despite the word ‘victim’ popping up every now and then, there is no specific or significant coverage of the functionality or effectiveness of the Victims’ Charter Act in these annual reports. Again, in other words, it seems these reporting requirements are not being met. Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party would like to see the obligations under section 21 fulfilled explicitly in these reports. My supplementary question is: Attorney, can you explain how you and the department meet the reporting requirements of section 21 of the Victims’ Charter Act?