Mr GRIMLEY (Western Victoria) (12:06): My question is to the Attorney-General. The Victorian Law Reform Commission’s (VLRC) 2016 report into the role of victims of crime in the criminal trial process proposed 51 recommendations. Recommendation 23 related to establishing a service, modelled on the sexual assault communications privilege service at Legal Aid New South Wales, to support sexual assault survivors to navigate the court process with things like subpoenas of medical records. This recommendation has not yet been implemented in Victoria. The advice proposed to be given would be about a victim’s substantive legal rights and entitlements, noting legal advice on procedural matters being explained to survivors is normally the obligation of DPP, the Office of Public Prosecutions (OPP) or victims service agencies to provide. So my question is: why has this recommendation not been implemented as yet? Ms SYMES (Northern Victoria—Leader of the Government, Attorney-General, Minister for Resources) (12:07): I thank Mr Grimley for his question and for raising the important matter of victim support in our state. Obviously we want victim-centred approaches to our justice system to ensure that we can support victims at a most challenging time in their lives and ensure we assist them to get on with their lives after experiencing what can often be very traumatic.
Mr GRIMLEY (Western Victoria) (12:08): Thank you, Attorney. You may have already addressed parts of this supplementary question, and that is okay. This recommendation for a victims legal support service by the VLRC identifies that there is a gap in the assistance victims of crime can seek. Problems with other agencies, include the OPP, being unable to help victims complete victim impact statements due to a perceived conflict is just one small example of many gaps in assistance available for victims of crime. My supplementary question is: does the government see a gap in the legal support victims of crime can access, and would it consider investigating the benefits of a victim legal support service in Victoria?