Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi
Nobody deserves to be a victim of crime.
Over the past two (Parliamentary) terms, National has been working hard to put victims at the heart of our justice system, because we know that they deserve and need our support.
Laws cannot change the past, or take away the pain that victims may have suffered, but they can provide protection and support services.
Our ‘Victims of Crime Reform Bill’ created new laws that have now come into effect, to give victims a greater voice in the criminal justice system.
Victims are now able to read their victim impact statements to the court at the judge’s discretion, and can include photos to show the impact of the offending.
If a victim wants to meet with their offender, they must be allowed access to restorative justice services, which enable these meetings, where possible.
National is expanding restorative justice – with services having received $4.4 million in extra operating funding over two years for an extra 2400 restorative justice conferences.
These changes help empower victims so that they can start to heal and move forward with their lives.
We are also increasing the accountability and responsiveness of government agencies providing services to victims, and ensuring that victims’ rights in the adult criminal jurisdiction are applied in the youth justice jurisdiction.
The Victim Notification System has now been extended as well, to include more victims, and provide wider notification options, such as bail application outcomes or release conditions.
In our first term, National introduced the $50 Victim’s Offender Levy and created 13 new services and entitlements for victims, including trauma counselling and more funding for victims of serious crime to travel to court.
Then we sped up and simplified criminal court procedures to deliver more timely justice to victims, defendants, and the community.
This year, we created a new restraining order to protect victims of serious violent or sexual crimes from unwanted contact with their attackers. A non-contact order can also prevent an offender from entering a specified area, or from living or working close to their victim.
The experience of crime and its aftermath can be extremely stressful for victims and their families. We want them to feel safe in their homes and communities.
National is committed to creating a justice system that treats victims with dignity and respect, and ensures that they are supported, their rights are protected, and their voices are strong.
Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi has been a Member of Parliament on National List since 2008.