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Your Rights As A Victim (Updated Dec 2002)
Police and Department for Courts have free brochures and other information about your rights as a victim and witness. Courts have specially trained victim advisers, and Victim Support and other community agencies can also help you.
Helpful contacts

You can get a wide range of help and information about your rights from:

  • your local police station
  • the court victim adviser (Department for Courts)
  • Department of Corrections
  • Ministry of Health
  • Victim Support (phone 0800 VICTIM or 0800 842 846).
  • Rape Crisis
  • Women's Refuge
  • your community law centre
  • Mâori Women's Refuge
  • Iwi or Kaumâtua
  • Citizens Advice Bureaux
  • your local doctor or medical centre
  • New Zealand Parole Board
  • Department of Child, Youth and Family Services
  • Department of Work and Income
  • ACC
  • www.justice.govt.nz (for information about the Victims' Rights Act 2002)

You can get more help: This information is a guide to the main things you need to know. If you are unsure of your rights, or need more information, talk to the police officers handling your case, the court victim adviser, or call any of the helpful contacts listed. They will help.

You are a 'victim' if:

  • another person has committed an offence against you or your child, or your property has been lost or damaged
  • a member of your immediate family has died or is unable to make decisions about his or her welfare because of an offence.
  • If you have been affected by an offence in some other way, you may still be regarded as a victim for some purposes.
  • You should be treated with courtesy and compassion and your dignity and privacy should be respected. You should receive help with meeting any welfare, health, counselling, medical or legal needs.

Your rights

As soon as practicable, you will receive relevant information. This may include details about medical help, income support, legal protection for you and your family, and support and counselling programmes available to you. You will also be referred to any relevant help such as that provided by Victim Support, Rape Crisis and Women’s Refuge.

As the matter progresses, you will receive updates from police, the prosecutor or court victim adviser, including:


  • the charges laid, or the reasons for not laying charges
  • how the accused/offender will be dealt with, for example, diversion or court etc.
  • date and place of court appearances, hearings and any appeals
  • bail conditions of the accused
  • your role as a witness, including how evidence will be presented
  • the result of any court proceedings.

Police and Department for Courts have free brochures and other information about your rights as a victim and witness. Courts have specially trained victim advisers, and Victim Support and other community agencies can also help you.

You can have a support person

If you prefer, someone else – a support person of your choice – can act on your behalf to receive information. Ask Police, the court victim adviser, Victim Support or any of the other helpful contacts for advice on who would be appropriate for you.

You can tell the judge your views

A police officer or Victim Support worker will ask how the offence affected you. Your answer will be used to prepare a Victim Impact Statement. You do not have to provide any information, but if you do, the judge will consider it when sentencing.

Your safety is protected because the accused/offender cannot keep a copy of the statement, and all or part of it may be withheld.

The police officer or Victim Support worker or court victim adviser can tell you more about Victim Impact Statements.

Other rights


  • The prosecutor will talk to you about any application to ban publication of the name of the accused, and will make your views known to the judge.
  • The New Zealand Parole Board will consider your views on parole or home detention for the offender, and any conditions you think should be in place if this is granted. Your thoughts on conditions when the offender is eligible for final release will also be considered.

The New Zealand Parole Board has more information about your rights as a victim. Victim Support can also help you with Parole Board hearings and submissions.

Additional rights for victims of serious offences

These rights apply if:


  • you are a victim of sexual violation or serious assault
  • you were seriously injured
  • the offence resulted in the death of someone in your immediate family, or that person being incapable of managing their personal affairs
  • you have ongoing and reasonable fears for your safety or for the safety of
    Police and court victim advisers have more information about the Victim Notification process. Victim Support can also assist. The process can be complicated, so please ask for help
    any of your immediate family.

Release on bail

Your views on the grant of bail to the accused will be taken into account by the judge, and you will be told what the decision is.

Victim Notification

You may be able to get more detailed information and documents specific to your case through the Victim Notification process. Police will tell you if you are eligible for this.

You may request that someone else get this information on your behalf. That person must agree to this in writing because he or she is responsible for giving you, and ensuring that you understand, any information received.

You must provide your current address (or your nominated representative's address) to Police. You must also update your address information if you move.

If you are part of the Victim Notification process you will get information on many things, including:


  • the offender's next parole hearing, and/or any hearing to consider the offender's release on home detention
  • when the offender is due for final release from prison or home detention
  • the outcome of the parole or home detention or pre-release hearing
  • when the offender is to be detained in, transferred to, or discharged from a psychiatric hospital
  • whether deportation of the offender is being considered.

You can also:


  • request certain information about the offender prior to any parole or home detention or pre-release hearing (this may help you prepare your submission to the New Zealand Parole Board)


  • Make your views known on any possible deportation.

Police and court victim advisers have more information about the Victim Notification process. Victim Support can also assist. The process can be complicated, so please ask for help.

Sexual offences

Details that could identify those accused or convicted of certain sexual offences may be suppressed in order to protect you. You can apply for an order allowing the publication of these details.

Counselling and travel assistance

ACC provides funding assistance for counselling if you are a victim of a sexual offence. Victim Support can provide access to counselling if someone in your family has been murdered.

You may be eligible for funding to help you attend court and parole hearings.

ACC and Victim Support can also help you with advice and information on counselling and other assistance.

Redress

There are a number of possible forms of redress for the harm and trauma the offence has caused you. Three important ones are:

Financial reparation and compensation

The court may order an offender to pay money to you if you have suffered loss, emotional harm or damage to property as a result of the offence.

Restorative justice

Meetings between offenders and victims are encouraged (but are not compulsory or always appropriate) to help resolve issues related to the offence.

An offender, or someone acting on their behalf, may offer to make amends to you for the crime. This could involve compensation to you in the form of money or in some other form such as work or service.

Family Group Conferences

If a child or young person (under the age of 17) commits a crime, a Family Group Conference may be held to decide what to do about the offender. You will be invited to attend and can take people along with you for support. You do not have to go if you don’t want to.

Court victim advisers, Police and Victim Support can also help you with advice and information on your rights of redress.

If your rights aren’t upheld

If you feel that any of the rights described in this booklet have not been upheld you should first talk to the agency concerned. Victim Support can help you with this.

For the latest information from the Ministry of Justice please visit http://www.justice.govt.nz/pubs/other/pamphlets/2002/victims-pamphlet/index.html

If you are not satisfied with the agency’s response, you can make a complaint to:

Office of the Ombudsmen (where the complaint does not involve a Police officer)
PO Box 10 152, Wellington Phone: 0800 802 602 www.ombudsmen.govt.nz

Police Complaints Authority (where the complaint involves a Police officer)
PO Box 5025, Wellington Phone: 0800 503 728

Privacy Commissioner
PO Box 466, Auckland Phone: 0800 803 909
www.knowledge-basket.co.nz/privacy/



Back to Victim resources Index
 

Police and Department for Courts have free brochures and other information about your rights as a victim and witness. Courts have specially trained victim advisers, and Victim Support and other community agencies can also help you.

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