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Additional rights for victims of serious crime
Provisions relating to rights of victims of certain offences
Victims of serious offences have a number of additional rights. These rights
apply to victims where the offence is:
  • one of sexual violation or other serious assault
  • one that resulted in serious injury to a person, the death of a person, or
    in a person being incapable
  • one of another kind that has led to the victim having ongoing fears, on
    reasonable grounds, for his or her physical safety or security, or for the
    safety or security of one or more members of his or her immediate family.
These rights are detailed below.

Views on bail

If the court is thinking of granting bail to an accused person, the
prosecutor must make all reasonable efforts to establish any views the victim
may have about the person being released on bail, and must make those views
known to the court.

Victim Notification System

The Police are to provide eligible victims with information about the victim notification system. This system is managed jointly by Police, Department of Corrections, and Ministry of Health. If victims wish to receive information about the offender, they must provide Police with their current address details. The Police must ensure these details are passed on to the Department of Corrections if the offender is imprisoned (or on parole or home detention), or to the Ministry of Health if the person is detained as a patient. The victim must advise the agency holding the offender of any change of address in order to keep receiving information.

Victims who are registered with the victim notification system are entitled
to receive specified information and documents about their case, so that they
can participate in specified events during the sentencing and penalty
phases.

Victim representatives

Victims can choose to have someone else register and receive notification on
their behalf. A representative can be the victim’s support person or any other
person the victim chooses.

The victim must get this person to agree in writing to be his or her
representative and pass this on to the Police and/or Department of Corrections
or the Director of Area Mental Health Services at the hospital where a patient
is detained, whichever is relevant. The support person can also arrange
this.

The representative must pass on any information received and make sure the
victim understands it.

Information for registered victims

Victims who have registered, or their representatives, must be told about
certain matters relating to the progress of the accused/offender through the
criminal justice system, mainly where the offender has been sentenced to
imprisonment. This includes:

  • notice of the offender’s pending parole hearing, or hearing to consider the
    offender’s release to home detention
  • notice of any pending hearing to consider the imposition of release
    conditions on the offender at his or her statutory release date
  • where the offender is serving a long-term prison sentence, the right to
    request information about the offender prior to the parole or home detention or
    pre-release hearing (which includes information about any programmes the
    offender has attended during the sentence and whether he or she completed the
    programmes)
  • the right to make a submission to the New Zealand Parole Board
  • the outcome of parole or home detention or pre-release hearings, including
    any terms or conditions on release that relate to the safety of the victim or
    the victim’s family, or that address the victim’s submissions
  • notice of the offender's escapes from prison or home detention
  • prior notice of when the offender is to be released on a temporary or
    part-time basis
  • notice of the offender's death in prison or during home detention
  • notice of the conviction of the offender of any breach of his or her
    conditions of release
  • notice of interim and final recall decisions relating to the offender
  • notice of the release of the accused on bail.

Victims who receive notification of any New Zealand Parole Board hearing must
also receive information on the outcome of the parole, home detention, or final
release hearing, whether or not they make a submission to the Board.

They are entitled to participate in Board proceedings to consider the
possible release of the offender on parole or to home detention, or any
conditions that should be placed on the offender when the offender is eligible
for final release from prison.

Registered victims’ entitlements include a right:

  • to appear and make oral submissions to the Board
  • to be accompanied by one or more support persons.

With leave of the Board:

  • support person(s) may speak in support of the victim and, with the victim’s
    permission, speak on behalf of the victim
  • victims may be represented by counsel.

Where the offender or the person accused of the offence is detained in
hospital


If the offender or the person accused of the offence is detained in a
hospital for mental health assessment or treatment, the victim will be told:

  • if that patient is about to be discharged, or is transferred to prison, or
    will shortly be no longer liable to detention
  • when the first unescorted leave of absence has been granted to that patient
    and that leave is about to be taken
  • if that patient escapes
  • if that patient dies.

Where an offender has been transferred from a prison to a psychiatric
hospital, the victim will also be notified if the offender's prison sentence
ends while he or she is in the hospital.

Where the Minister of Immigration is to consider deporting the
offender


If the Minister of Immigration is considering the deportation of the
offender, the victim must be given notice of this. Under the Immigration Act
1987
, as amended by the Victims’ Rights Act 2002, a victim may advise
the Minister of Immigration (and the Deportation Review Tribunal if the offender
appeals a deportation order) in writing what he or she thinks about the
deportation of the offender.

Complaints

The Act provides that where a victim considers that he or she is entitled to
a right, and has not been afforded that right, the victim may lodge a complaint
with the Office of the Ombudsmen, the Police Complaints Authority (where the
complaint involves a member of the Police), or the Privacy Commissioner (where
the matter is one of privacy).

Other ways in which rights may be enforced

The Act does not give rise to any claim for payment of monetary compensation
for breaches of the rights contained in it. However, if those breaches also
entail breaches of other rights for which there is an existing entitlement to
claim compensation, that entitlement is not affected.

The Legislation

The Victims' Rights Act 2002 is available online at www.legislation.govt.nz



Back to The Victims' rights act 2002 Index
 

Provisions relating to rights of victims of certain offences

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