Member for Western Victoria
Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party

Victims of Crime – Human Rights Charter

My question is for the Attorney-General. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in 2017 recommended that, and I quote: Each Australian Director of Public Prosecutions should establish robust and effective internal audit processes to audit their compliance with policies for decision-making and consultation with victims and police. The Office of Public Prosecutions undertook such an audit and reported in their 2019–20 annual report that only 80 per cent of victims were treated in compliance with organisational policies. This is despite the victims charter mandating consultation with victims of crime at a number of stages in the criminal trial process. It is unacceptable that 20 per cent of victims of crime are not provided with standards of service which are their right under law. There is a significant risk that they are further traumatised through these failures. My question is: can the Attorney explain if the OPP have taken steps to improve this outcome and, given the insights of this audit, if they intend to run it annually or in the future?

Mr GRIMLEY (Western Victoria) (15:08): Thanks, Attorney. The poor compliance is not limited to the OPP. The victims of crime commissioner’s office reported in its 2019–20 annual report that only 31 per cent of prescribed agencies have mechanisms in place to comply with the legislation. Despite recommendations by the Victorian Law Reform Commission in their 2016 report to institute remedies for victims failed by the system, there remains no penalty or consequence for agencies who do not meet compliance with the charter. As I said last week, the charter is a toothless tiger, without means to hold agencies to account. To strengthen victims’ rights, one of the recommendations of this same report was to provide guarantees for the treatment of victims of crime in the human rights charter. This would mean that every bill in this place would need to be compliant with victims’ rights. That can only be a good thing, but to date it has not been implemented. My supplementary question therefore is: given departments are lacking in their compliance with the toothless tiger, why has the government not implemented this recommendation to uphold victims’ rights through the human rights charter?

Mr GRIMLEY: I am not really too sure how I can rephrase it. My substantive question was in relation to the victims charter specifically, and my supplementary question is asking the Attorney General if the human rights charter can incorporate the victims charter when we are debating bills in this place. It is really tricky to reword the supplementary question, but I am happy to perhaps..


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