Last updated 12 September
The Charter of Victims’ Rights (sch 1AA Victims of Crime Assistance Act 2009 (Qld) (VOCA Act)) describes the way a victim should be treated, as far as practicable and appropriate, by Queensland government agencies and non-government organisations.
Victims have the right to make a complaint if this charter is not followed (ss 19–20A VOCA Act).
Victims should be treated with respect, courtesy, compassion and dignity, while taking into account the victim’s needs.
A victim’s personal information, including the victim’s address and telephone number, will not be disclosed unless authorised by law.
A victim will be informed, at the earliest practicable opportunity, about services and remedies available to the victim (sch 1AA pt 1 div 1 VOCA Act).
Rights in the criminal justice system
Information about the investigation
A victim will be informed about the progress of the investigation of the crime, unless informing the victim may jeopardise the investigation. If the investigation may be jeopardised, the victim will be informed accordingly.
Information about the prosecution and court matters
A victim will be informed about:
- the name of a person charged with an offence
- the issuing of a warrant for the arrest of a person accused of committing the crime
- major decisions (and the reasons for that decision) about the prosecution of the accused person. This includes the charges brought against the accused person, not bringing charges, substantial changes to the charges or accepting a plea of guilty to a lesser or different charge
- relevant court processes, including when the victim may attend a court proceeding, and the date and place of hearing of a charge against the accused (this includes details of an application for bail made by the accused)
- any diversionary programs available to the accused in relation to the crime
- the outcome of a criminal proceeding against the accused, including the sentence imposed and the outcome of the appeal
- bail applications including the outcome of a bail application made by the accused, and any arrangements made for the release of the accused, including any special bail conditions imposed that may affect the victim’s safety or welfare
- the trial process and their role as a witness, if a victim is a witness at the accused’s trial.
Minimised contact with the accused at court
During a court proceeding, the victim will be protected from unnecessary contact with, or violence, or intimidation by, the accused, defence witnesses, and family members and supporters of the accused.
Victim impact statement
A victim may make a victim impact statement (outlining the harm caused by the crime) under the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 (Qld) for consideration by the court during sentencing of a person found guilty of an offence relating to the crime.
Return of a victim’s property
A victim’s property held by the state for an investigation or as evidence will be returned to the victim as soon as possible (sch 1AA pt 1 div 2 VOCA Act).
Rights when the offender goes to prison
Once an offender has been convicted, eligible victims can register to receive information. If registered, a victim will be kept informed of the following matters (sch 1AA pt 2 VOCA Act):
- the offender’s period of imprisonment
- the transfer of the offender to a different prison
- the escape of the offender from custody or whether the offender is unlawfully at large.
For more information, who is eligible to be placed on the register and the registration process visit the Victims Register. In relation to young offenders visit Victims Register – Youth.
Submissions to the parole board
An eligible person has the opportunity to write to the parole board under the Corrective Services Act 2006 (Qld) about granting parole to the offender. Eligible victims will receive correspondence from the Victims Register inviting them to make a submission if a prisoner lodges an application for parole, other than exceptional circumstances parole (sch 1AA pt 2 VOCA Act).
Right to make a complaint
A victim may make a complaint about a contravention of a right under this charter, and will be given information about the procedure for making a complaint.
A friend or family member may also make the complaint for the victim, with their permission.
The complaint can be made straight to the agency the victim has been dealing with, or to the Victim Services Coordinator at Victim Assist Queensland using their form (the form also includes an email address and phone number for Victim Assist).