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The Victims' rights act 2002
The Victims’ Rights Act 2002 (the Act) replaces the Victims of Offences Act 1987. It came into force on 18 December 2002.
The Act imposes clear obligations on specified agencies to provide information and offer assistance to victims of offences. It turns a number of directives for the treatment of victims into enforceable rights.

In summary, the Act:
  • expands the range of persons who are defined as victims for the purposes of the Act by including parents and guardians of child victims and close family members of those murdered or rendered incapable
  • provides that persons not strictly victims under the Act may have input into proceedings involving the accused/offender
  • mandates the provision of assistance and information to victims
  • encourages the holding of meetings between victims and offenders, in accordance with principles of restorative justice
  • prohibits the disclosure in court of the victim’s address except in particular circumstances
  • requires that in all cases a victim impact statement is sought, for the information of the sentencing judge
  • requires that victims’ views on any application for orders prohibiting the publication of the accused/offender’s name are sought
  • provides comprehensive rights of notification, to victims of certain offences, of the occurrence of specified (including forthcoming) events relating to the accused/offender
  • provides that victims of certain offences may participate in decision-making processes, such as processes for the offender’s release from prison under the Parole Act 2002 or for the deportation of the offender under the Immigration Act 1987.

Who is a 'victim' under the Act?

A victim is anyone who:
  • has had an offence committed against him or her, or
  • has suffered physical injury, or loss or damage to property as a result of an offence, or
  • is a member of the immediate family of someone who has died or who is unable to make decisions about his or her welfare because of an offence committed against him or her (for example, is incapable or unconscious), or
  • is a parent or legal guardian of a child or young person who is a victim, so long as the parent or guardian is not charged with, convicted of, or found guilty of the offence.
A victim may exercise his or her rights under the Act, irrespective of whether anyone is arrested, charged or convicted of the offence(s) in question.

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Additional rights for victims of serious crime
Provisions relating to rights of victims of certain offences  read story...
Victim Impact Statements
Under the Act, before an offender can be sentenced, a Victim Impact Statement (VIS) should be prepared for the judicial officer sentencing the offender so that he or she understands how the offence has affected the victim  read story...
Rights for all victims
Victims are to receive relevant information about programmes, services and remedies available to assist them, taking into account their specific circumstances.   read story...
Principles of the Victims' Rights Act
Principles of the Victims' Rights Act   read story...

Back to Victim resources Index

The Victims’ Rights Act 2002 replaced the Victims of Offences Act 1987

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