A dedicated suite of services is provided in Victoria to support victims of crime, in recognition of the far-reaching impacts and complex support needs of victims. These include:
- Delivering the Victims of Crime Helpline, available to all victims of crime and providing needs assessments, information, support and referrals seven days a week.
- Supporting community services organisations to deliver the Victims Assistance Program across Victoria. The Program provides a range of supports, including case coordination, assistance to navigate criminal justice processes, and brokerage funding.
- Reforming the way financial assistance is provided to victims of crime to make it easier and simpler for people to get the help they need.
- Delivering the Child Witness Service, which provides specialist support to child witnesses and their families to prepare them for the role of being a witness, supports them throughout the criminal trial process and provides debriefing and referral to community agencies.
Consistent with the Victorian Victims’ Charter, we recognise the significant impact that youth offending has on victims. We also recognise that victims have the right to know about opportunities to participate in Youth Justice processes, supported by victim support agencies. Victims also experience crime differently and have varied preferences for participating in the criminal justice system and engaging with Youth Justice. These individual decisions need to be respected.
Reducing reoffending and promoting community safety by supporting children and young people to turn their lives around
Youth Justice will deliver opportunities for young people to repair harm through restorative interventions. These opportunities will help develop a young person’s understanding of the harm their actions cause their victims.
In particular, Youth Justice will:
- Offer group conferencing in appropriate circumstances, which involves a meeting between the victim (supported by a victim support officer) and the young person, in circumstances where the young person has pleaded guilty to the offence and is awaiting sentencing. Group conferences are intended to help the young person understand the impact of their offending on the victim through a restorative process.
- Support the Youth Parole Board’s and Victoria Police’s work with victims and their families to ensure the views of victims are considered as part of the Youth Parole Board’s decision-making processes. This ensures the board is aware of the need for victim conditions to be applied to a parole order to avoid a victim being retraumatised by a young person’s release.
- Evaluate and strengthen the new family violence restorative approach with Family Safety Victoria, which links the Youth Justice Group Conferencing Service with an adolescent family violence program across three locations.
- Recognise the work of criminal justice and victim support agencies to ensure victims can exercise their right to make a victim impact statement.
- Explore options to expand the availability of restorative approaches and group conferencing to other stages of the criminal justice process to provide more avenues for young people to take responsibility for their behaviours and give victims opportunities to engage with young people on the impacts of their offending.