.

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

Will the ‘forgotten’ victims of crime be the winners from the state’s earnest law-and-order debate?
Goaded for the state’s so-called “soft” justice system, Attorney General Martin Pakula recently announced a stronger sentencing regime and an extended review into the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT).
The Victorian Law Reform Commission review will consider how to ensure access to VOCAT was fair, timely and minimised additional trauma.
Among the review’s issues were whether awards were appropriate. Currently they’re capped at $60,000 for medical and counselling expenses.
Mr Pakula said “significant action” had been taken to strengthen the state’s sentencing regime.
“We’ve introduced legislation to create sentencing standards for the most serious crimes, and we will create a Sentencing Guidelines Council to engage with the community and provide guidance to the courts.”
In the recent budget, the government boosted frontline staff and support services for victims of crime, witnesses and vulnerable children, and gave extra funding to the Victims of Crime Commissioner.
Shadow Attorney General John Pesutto said more was needed to help victims, who were forgotten due to the “constant focus on the rights of criminals”.
His Liberal-National Coalition has proposed “profound” changes such as victims being able to get compensation from offenders’ superannuation.
Victims would also have the right to be consulted by prosecutors prior to altering charges.
Mr Persutto said victims needed more scope to express their grief and anguish in victim impact statements which are “often pared back to the point of leaving victims gutted”.
“We will put victims and community safety first with the strongest bail laws in the country, mandatory sentencing for violent offenders and a commitment to a strong and well-resourced police force.”
The Coalition is also considering whether to increase VOCAT compensation orders, Mr Pesutto said.
In his first report, recently appointed Community Safety Trustee Ron Iddles cited some victims enduring delays of more than two years at VOCAT.
“If the approach is ‘victims first’, then the current process warrants review in the interest of quick resolution for victims.”
The government said Mr Iddles’ findings reinforced the need for its VOCAT review.

Comments are closed.

Your first stop before buying a home. View the whole picture.

More News

Casey councillor Susan Serey is recontesting for a seat in State Parliament. On 15 November, Cr Serey was formally announced as ...

Certified gold The Ramble Tamble Certified Gold Show, the ultimate tribute, dinner and show experience featuring the music of both ...

A spectacular light and lantern festival could be launched by Casey Council at Bunjil Place as early as 2018. Outgoing mayor ...

An 18-year-old accused drug trafficker has said he lied to police when he told them he was couriering cannabis across ...

The first challenge for Upper Beaconsfield archer Shaylen was to make it to national titles. The prodigiously talented nine-year-old more ...

Casey Council is seeking to hold an annual Christian prayer breakfast to pray for and thank emergency services members. Outgoing ...

Latest Sport

Dandenong Stingrays captain Oscar Clavarino possesses genuine leadership, an ability to read the ball as well as anyone in the ...

Despite losing their fourth consecutive match in the opening month of the Victorian Premier Cricket season, Casey-South Melbourne coach Prabath ...

VICTORIAN PREMIER CRICKET PREVIEW – ROUND 4 DANDENONG (1ST) v CASEY-SOUTH MELBOURNE (17TH) Shepley Oval, 28 October from 11am Saturday’s clash for ...