As a victim of homicide you are entitled to be treated with a level of courtesy and compassion and the Criminal Offence Victims’ Act 1995 (COVA) includes a Declaration of the Fundamental Principles of Justice providing guidelines that should be followed by public officials when dealing with you. These guidelines are referenced below and if you believe you, or someone you know, has received treatment that contravenes these principals please contact QHVSG.
Understanding Your Legal and Moral Rights
The interests of victims of crime should be advanced by the observance of the Fundamental Principles of Justice, which are that you should:
- Be treated at all times with courtesy, compassion and respect for your personal dignity and in a way that is responsive to age, gender, ethnic, cultural and linguistic differences or any disability or other special need;
- Be given access to the State’s system of justice and provided with information about crime prevention methods;
- Have your privacy protected and to have property held by the Crown for purposes of investigation or evidence returned as promptly as possible. Inconveniences to victims should be minimised wherever possible;
- Have a comprehensive statement taken at the time of the initial investigation;
- Be given protection from violence and intimidation by the accused person and to have your welfare considered at all stages of the investigation and prosecution of an offence:
- Have the full effects of the crime upon you made known to the sentencing court by the prosecutor, including any financial, social, psychological and physical harm suffered. Any other information that may aid the court in sentencing including the restitution and compensation needs of you as a victim should also be put before the court by the prosecutor. If you do not want certain details disclosed, the prosecutor may have regard to your wishes.
- Be informed about the progress of investigations being conducted by the police (except where such disclosure might jeopardise the investigations);
- Be advised of the charges laid against the accused, the name of the accused, the time and place of the hearing of the proceedings for the charge, and of any modification to the charges in question;
- Be given the reason for any decision not to proceed with the charge or to accept a plea to a lesser charge;
- Have your need for physical protection put before a bail authority that is determining an application for bail by the accused person and to be advised if that person is released on bail, including any conditions of bail which are designed to protect you as the victim from the accused;
- Be informed about the trial process and of the rights and responsibilities of witnesses;
- Have access to information about the services available to assist with your welfare, health, counselling, medical and legal needs;
- Have access to information about how to obtain compensation or restitution for injury, loss or damage caused by the offence;
- Be advised if the alleged offender absconds before trial or escapes from custody after sentencing;
- Be advised of the outcome of criminal proceedings and be fully appraised of the sentence, when imposed, and its implication, as well as the offender’s eligibility date.