Declaration of Principles Governing the Treatment of Victims of Crime

The need for the Declaration arises out of local, national and international concern about the position of victims of crime in the criminal justice system.
The principles are not enforceable in criminal or civil proceedings; do not give rise to any right to damages for breach; and do not affect the conduct of criminal proceedings. However, public agencies and officials are authorised and required to have regard, and to give effect, to the principles so far as it is practicable to do so having regard to the other obligations binding on them.

Principles 1 to 10

Principle 1

A victim should be treated-

(a) with courtesy, respect and sympathy; and

(b) with due regard to any special need that arises-

(i) because of the victim's-

• age; or
• sex; or
• race or ethnicity; or
• cultural or linguistic background; or

(ii) for any other reason.

Principle 2

A victim should be informed about health and welfare services that may be available to alleviate the consequences of injury suffered as a result of the offence.

Principle 3

A victim should be informed, on request, about:

(a) the progress of investigations into the offence;

(b) the charge laid and details of the place and date of proceedings on the charge;

(c) if a person has been charged with the offence the name of the alleged offender.

Principle 4

A victim should be informed, on request, if an application for bail is made by the alleged offender—the outcome of the application.

If a police officer or a person representing the Crown in bail proceedings is made aware that the victim feels a need for protection from the alleged offender—

(a) the police officer or other person must ensure that the perceived need for protection is brought to the attention of the bail authority; and

(b) reasonable efforts must be made to notify the victim of the outcome of the bail proceedings and, in particular, any condition imposed to protect the victim from the alleged offender (unless the victim indicates that he or she does not wish to be so informed)

Principle 5

A victim should be informed, on request, if the prosecutor decides not to proceed with the charge, to amend the charge, or to accept a plea to a lesser charge or agrees with the defendant to make or support a recommendation for leniency—the reasons for the prosecutor's decision;

A victim of a serious offence should be consulted before any decision is made—

(a)  to charge the alleged offender with a particular offence; or

(b)  to amend a charge; or

(c)  to not proceed with a charge; or

(d)  to apply under Part 8A of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 for an investigation into the alleged offender's mental competence to commit an offence or mental fitness to stand trial.

Principle 6

A victim of an offence is entitled to be present in the courtroom during proceedings for the offence unless the court, in accordance with some other Act or law, orders otherwise.

Principle 7

A victim should only be asked to attend proceedings related to the offence if the victim's attendance is genuinely necessary.

Principle 8

A victim who is to be a witness for the prosecution at the trial of the offence should be informed by the prosecution about the trial process and the victim's rights and responsibilities as a witness for the prosecution.

Principle 9

A victim should be protected as far as practicable from unnecessary contact with the alleged offender and defence witnesses during the course of the trial and in proceedings under this Act.

Principle 10

There should be no unnecessary intrusion on a victim's privacy.  In particular, a victim's residential address should not be disclosed unless it is material to the prosecution or defence.
Last Modified: 31 January 2012