Hon Kyam Maher
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs
Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector

This annual report will be presented to Parliament to meet the statutory reporting requirements of section 16F of the Victims of Crime Act 2001 and the requirements of Premier and Cabinet Circular PC013 Annual Reporting.

This report is verified to be accurate for the purposes of annual reporting to the Parliament of South Australia.

Submitted on behalf of the Commissioner for Victims' Rights by:

Bronwyn Killmier
Commissioner for Victims' Rights 
30 September 2022

From the Commissioner

Our strategic focus

The Commissioner for Victims' Rights is an independent statutory officer with responsibilities under the Victims of Crime Act 2001.

The Commissioner helps victims of crime in South Australia in their dealings with the criminal justice system, and ensures victims are treated fairly and respectfully with their rights acknowledged and observed by public agencies and officials.

The Commissioner provides information, advice and support to South Australians who are harmed, and their families and friends, to deal with the physical, emotional and financial impacts of crime.

The Commissioner also participates in certain criminal proceedings and consults on victims' grievances.

The Commissioner monitors laws and policy for the safety, fairness and justice for victims of crime in South Australia and leads the Victims of Crime South Australia (VOCSA) office.

Victims in South Australia are treated fairly and respectfully with their rights acknowledged and observed by public agencies and officials.

VOCSA services are responsive, inclusive and collaborative.

Our functions, objectives and deliverables are:

  • to give statutory recognition to victims of crime and the harm that they suffer from criminal offending
  • to establish principles governing how victims of crime are to be treated by public agencies and officials
  • to help victims of crime recover from the effects of criminal offending and to advance their welfare in other ways
  • to marshal available government resources so they can be applied for the benefit of victims in the most efficient and effective way
  • to assist victims in their dealings with prosecution authorities and other government agencies
  • to monitor and review the effect of the law and of court practices and procedures on victims
  • to carry out any other functions assigned to the Commissioner under the Victims of Crime Act 2001 or under any other Act.

Our organisational structure

  • Commissioner for Victims' Rights
  • Assistant Commissioner for Victims' Rights
  • Project Manager
  • Project Officer
  • Intake and Assessment Officer x 2

Legislation monitored by the agency

The agency's objectives and performance

Policy, legislation and collaboration

A key function for the Commissioner for Victims’ Rights is to identify gaps in service delivery, legislation, rights or access to justice in relation to victims of crime. The Commissioner has a responsibility to marshal available government and non-government resources so that they can be applied for the benefit of victims in the most efficient and effective way.

The Commissioner continues to collaborate with SAPOL to trial a streamlined information sharing process so that more timely responses to victims can be made and efficiencies realised for SAPOL and VOCSA without any compromise to service delivery. This has resulted in fewer follow up contacts required and a more timely service for victims.

The Commissioner collaborates and liaises across government and non-government agencies, and with communities, on policy and service delivery - this has included:

  • Attorney General’s Department – State and Federal
  • Department for Correctional Services
  • South Australian Housing Trust
  • Office for Women
  • Child Protection Services
  • Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
  • Forensic Mental Health
  • Commissioner for Children and Young people
  • Public Advocate
  • Child Protection Services
  • Courts Administration
  • Relationships Australia South Australia
  • Victim Support Service

The Commissioner has made submissions on proposed legislation and policy that could impact on victims. This has included:

  • Age of criminal responsibility
  • Child sex offenders registration regulations 2007
  • CLCA (Human Remains) amendment Bill 2021
  • Draft Forfeiture Bill 2021
  • Powers of Attorney Bill
  • Concealment of bodies
  • Financing funerals for unidentified human remains
  • Financing suicide clean-ups
  • Evidence Regulations 2007
  • Statutes Amendment (Attorney-General's
  • Portfolio and Other Justice Measures) Bill 2021
  • Statutes Amendment (Child Sexual Abuse) Bill 2021
  • Statutes Amendment (Stealthing and Consent) Bill 2021

The Commissioner is a member of a national working group examining coercive control principles, and participated in the Policing and Justice Panel as part of the National Summit on Women’s Safety. In addition, she provided information to the Mansfield Review into Safework SA’s investigation of the death of Gayle Woodford and the Select Committee on Damage, Harm or adverse outcomes resulting from ICAC investigations (SCICAC).

The Commissioner has identified systemic issues impacting on victims that need to be addressed long term. The Commissioner will continue to collaborate and consult with agencies and victims to realise changes to practices, policy and legislation that will mitigate the impact of crime on victims.

The Commissioner has attended the National Victims of Crime Working Group (NVOCWG) led by the Western Australian Commissioner.

The NVOCWG was working towards a proposed National Victims of Crime Day to be held in 2021 to focus community attention on victim issues. South Australia was part of a working group and became the lead on this project.

South Australia held their first Victims’ Day on September 16, 2021. In the lead up to victims’ day, with the help of victim advocates and agencies, we were able to film short videos about the services provided for victims and post these on our website, so that they were accessible to everyone. We also arranged various media stories, including about the concealment of bodies, that prompted changes to legislation. We were able to hold a small morning tea function, respecting covid restrictions, where the Attorney-General spoke to victims and agencies who work to assist victims.

The working group also discusses relevant legislative amendments, innovations and processes impacting on victims.

The Commissioner for Victims’ Rights Consultative Committee (CVRCC) was formed in February 2019 to invigorate and enhance innovative ways of delivering meaningful services for victims.

Meetings are held every 6 weeks but, due to COVID-19 restrictions, meetings have either been deferred or held online. The CVRCC members include victims with lived experience, victim support group representatives and government and non-government agencies.

Some of the topics discussed by the CVRCC include assistance with victim impact statements, court support, information provisions, changes required in relation to victim impact statements, victims’ day, assisting vulnerable victims to make parole submissions, and discussion and updates on legislation that formed the basis for submissions by the Commissioner on behalf of victims.

The Commissioner has collaborated and liaised with many agencies, groups and committees in 2020-21, including:

  • Adelaide University
  • AGD - Policy and Community, Legal and Legislative Services, Projects and Technology
  • Australian Federal Police
  • Carly Ryan Foundation
  • Child Protection Services
  • Commissioner for Children and Young People
  • Commonwealth Attorney-General
  • Courts Administration Authority
  • Crown Solicitor Office (civil)
  • Department for Corrections - Victim Services Unit
  • Flinders University
  • Forensic Mental Health
  • Homicide Victim Support Group
  • Lawyers specialising in compensation
  • Media
  • National Victims of Crime Working Group
  • Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
  • Parole Board
  • Politicians
  • Relationships Australia SA
  • Road Trauma Support Team
  • South Australian Law Reform Institute
  • South Australia Police
  • Statutory authorities
  • The Compassionate Friends
  • Victim Support Service
  • Witness Assistance Scheme - DPP
  • Women's Domestic Violence Court Assistance Service
  • Women's Safety Service SA
  • Youth Court Stakeholders
  • Youth Justice
  • Youth and Women's Safety and Wellbeing Division - Women's and Children's Health Network.

Information, education and community engagement

VOCSA has an ongoing and evolving marketing and engagement strategy to promote the rights of victims, and the assistance that is available for victims and to raise community awareness in victim issues. The Commissioner continues to examine innovative ways for keeping victims informed through the criminal justice system.

VOCSA had intended to visit field days again this year, but some were cancelled due to COVID-19. The Commissioner attended the Yorke Peninsula Field Days at Pasqueville. It is hoped to be able to attend more regional days in the next year.

The VOCSA website ( provides information for victims on the Declaration of principles governing treatment of victims, as outlined in the Victims of Crime Act 2001. These principles should govern the way victims are dealt with by public agencies and officials.

The criminal justice system can be complex and confusing. The information on the website can help victims understand what to expect, from reporting a crime through to the outcome of the court process and beyond. It also provides advice of where support can be obtained, amongst other information.

In line with a strengthened coordination role, a new website was launched in October 2020. The website is clear and accessible, enabling victims to access information quickly and providing clear information to support them. In 2021, the office name was changed to “Victims of Crime South Australia” (VOCSA) to reflect that the priority is on victims and not the Commissioner. The change of name has made it easier for victims to find our services and emphasises our commitment to victims.

The new website enabled greater flexibility, with videos relating to Victims’ Day and the services available able to be uploaded and editable forms able to be accessed – this enabled improvements in access to victim impact statements and court support requests.

VOCSA publications are used not only by victims, but also by many government and non- government agencies who provide support and services to victims.

Our publications continue to be rewritten and updated to be more concise and accessible. We are consulting with people with lived experience and experts in doing so.

As trends are identified by victim issues, we produce or update our publications. We had previously identified and introduced more appropriate ways to manage our publications so that there is less wastage and they are able to be updated as required. We are currently working on an information booklet relating to those cases involving mental impairment. All our publications can be downloaded from the website and are also available in hardcopy.

The Commissioner has engaged with media and provided opinion and discussed a wide range of victim topics through radio, television and online and print media, raising community awareness of victim issues.

VOCSA is one Twitter with the following statistics for the year.

  • 109 tweets published
  • 537 engagements (the number of times someone engaged with the tweet - eg clicked on it, retweeted, liked etc)
  • 30,279 impressions (this is the number of times a tweet appeared in timelines across Twitter)
  • 3 replies

The top three tweets with the most engagements were:






Victims of Crime @VictimofCrimeSA

You have a right to information. As a victim of crime, you are entitled to a lot of information - you just have to ask for it. Learn more about what information you can access:  #VictimsDaySA #victimsofcrime #SouthAustralia #victimsrights




Victims of Crime @VictimofCrimeSA

This is important recognition that victims need access to services that can assist them as they seek to recover from family and domestic abuse. …




Victims of Crime @VictimofCrimeSA

Yesterday there was a collective sigh of relief when #CleoSmith was found alive and well but let’s not forget all the families and friends of those who are still #missing. They too need community support and understanding as they wait and hope



The Commissioner spoke at important partner events, including:

  • the World Day of Remembrance for road traffic victims, hosted virtually by the Road Trauma Support Team
  • the Homicide Victim Support Group annual memorial vigil.


VOCSA has developed and conducted a number of training and awareness courses to improve services for victims.

As well as providing training and awareness in partnership with SAPOL for victim contact officers, prosecution, child and family violence investigators, detectives and recruits, we have also given presentations to other professionals, including the crown solicitors who manage compensation. We have also presented at university courses.

Policy and procedures

The Commissioner has developed, implemented and maintained policies and procedures that enhance the support given to victims of crime in South Australia. The policies and procedures are adhered to by staff to ensure consistent decision making.

These improvements in business processes have also increased operational efficiency, streamlined administration practices and improved the triage, assessment and decision-making processes for victims.

This has included a more structured and rigorous financial management process.

Office processes and procedures have been fully analysed and documented to enable a tender to be undertaken in the new financial year for a case management system.

This will bring benefits for victims by improving administrative efficiencies and digital record keeping, as well as increasing data accuracy and streamlining processes to assist victims. Data will enable trends to be analysed to identify gaps in victim services so that the Commissioner can advocate for improvements for victims.

After a successful tender process, the case management system will now be designed and implemented within the 2022 – 2023 financial year.

The Commissioner for Victims’ Rights continues to collect meaningful data and undertake an assessment of VOCSA workload. This has assisted in determining staffing needs for efficient and effective management of workload, and meeting customer service benchmarks.

Working in the office assisting victims is a rewarding but often emotionally draining job, and some people find this challenging. I am fortunate to have had people working in the office on contracts who have been flexible, resilient and empathetic.

Victim assistance

The Commissioner for Victims' Rights upholds the principles governing how victims of crime are to be treated by public agencies and officials.

VOCSA also helps victims recover from the physical and psychological effects of criminal offending and provides resources to benefit victims in the most efficient and effective way.

The data above is only a snapshot of the work undertaken by the office in the top 5 victim enquiries:

  • state funded compensation
  • discretionary funding
  • criminal justice sector enquiry
  • advocacy
  • counselling.

The office also undertakes a significant amount of work on a regular basis that is not captured by the data above. This includes:

  • dealing with grievances
  • making parole submissions
  • community impact statements
  • updating publications
  • commenting on legislation
  • securing court documents for victims
  • dealing with the media
  • arranging court support
  • victim impact statements.

Some people have a complaint about how they have been treated or supported as a victim of crime.

If the victim is not satisfied with how an agency has resolved their complaint, they can contact the Commissioner who assists victims dealing with public authorities and the justice system and consults regarding the treatment of victims to ensure that the Declaration of Principles Governing Treatment of Victims has not been violated.

In 2021-22 VOCSA received:

  • 69 grievances from victims against other agencies
  • 65 matters have been resolved
  • 4 are pending.

Most grievance matters relate to victims not being kept informed, not being consulted if charges are downgraded, withdrawn or not proceeded with.

VOCSA has liaised with many agencies to resolve grievances including:

  • SafeWork SA
  • South Australian Housing Authority (SAHA)
  • Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
  • Crown Solicitors Office
  • Department for Correctional Services
  • Courts Administration Authority
  • Members of Parliament
  • Attorney-General's Department
  • Coroner's Court
  • some media agencies.

It was not necessary for the Commissioner to request apologies under sections 16(A)(2) and 16(A)(4) as all complaints were resolved at the agency level.

Some victims require assistance in navigating the criminal justice system and interacting with other agencies. The Commissioner can consult with agencies and officials, and advocate on behalf of victims.

In 2020-21 the Commissioner for Victims' Rights received 296 requests from victims seeking advocacy.

293 matters have been resolved and 3 are pending.

Each discretionary payment application is assessed before a determination is made by the Commissioner and includes consultation with SAPOL and other agencies.

Of those applications that were approved, below is a snapshot of some of the types of assistance provided to victims:

  • relocation to enable domestic violence and other victims to stay safe
  • payment for some emergency medical costs
  • additional security to increase the safety of victims of crime in their homes
  • payment of funerals for victims who have died as a result of murder.

For the 2021-22 period there have been 521 applications tot he Commissioner for Victims' Rights for discretionary payments, of which 264 were approved.

The remaining applications were either not approved, funded from a more appropriate source or were not eligible.

During the 2021-22 financial year, Victims of Crime SA continued to partner with the Victim Support Service to establish a new service - the Court Support Program.

Victims of Crime SA made significant improvements in the training of court support volunteers, including ensuring appropriate current national police checks and working with children checks were undertaken. Significant investment was made into developing a process that was easy for victims and other stakeholders to use to access court support in the district and supreme courts.

This included developing an online application form to enable anyone to request support. In addition, VOCSA enabled SA based victims to attend court virtually in other states if required. VOCSA also ensured court support volunteers were able to be easily identified by those in the court and provided information on the website to advise and inform victims and stakeholders. VOCSA developed and provided professional training both in person and virtually to volunteers.

The development of a more professional service for victims has resulted in a process and program that is benefiting victims. As an election promise by the current Government, the Victim Support Service are now funded to be responsible for the full delivery of the program from the 2022-23 financial year.

When a life-sentenced prisoner lodges an application for release on parole, the Commissioner for Victims’ Rights makes a submission to the Parole Board representing the co-victims or those affected.

VOCSA takes all reasonable steps to contact any co-victims to obtain their views so that their comments can be collated into the submission.

All submissions must meet strict timelines to be considered by the Parole Board. Following the Parole Board determination, all co-victims must be contacted and advised of the outcome and any conditions imposed.

VOCSA also frequently has contact with SAPOL, DCS Victim Services Unit and the Parole Board in relation to the parole submissions.

For the 2021 - 2022 period, there have been 1078 contacts to co-victims and agencies by the VOCSA office in relation to 65 parole matters for life-sentenced prisoners.

In addition, since November 2021, with the advent of legislation that enabled the Commissioner to make submissions on behalf of co-victims regarding parole breach matters, there have been 19 matters, with 152 contacts made. This is a valuable voice for victims, but has increased the workload on the office.

VOCSA has responsibility for coordinating assistance for victim impact statements. Writing a victim impact statement is one of the few opportunities victims have to participate in criminal proceedings and victims often describe this as empowering. It is therefore the philosophy of VOCSA to support victims and increase their capacity to write their own statements. Information and support is provided to victims to enable them to write their own statement.

Where a victim is vulnerable and requires additional support VOCSA will triage the request. Some victims have been referred to agencies already engaged with the victim whilst some have been assisted by VOCSA staff who can provide the appropriate support and guidance for those with complex communication needs. At times the use of an interpreter has been required and funded by VOCSA.

The Commissioner has prepared a number of community impact statements this year.

The Commissioner has partnered with the Joint Anti Child Exploitation team (JACET) and the Carly Ryan Foundation to provide community impact statements (CIS) to the court during sentencing to give victims who may be unknown, a voice in the proceedings. They highlight the significant damage and that there are real victims behind these offences, often completed using the internet. The CIS are all evidence based and have been submitted for different child exploitation situations. The CIS not only represent the victims but also are instrumental in educating the judiciary, prosecution and others who report on them.

It is evident that the CIS are having some impact, as they are being referred to in sentencing comments by Judges.

The Commissioner, with the assistance of legal counsel, has been successful in having Commonwealth courts accept the CIS in proceedings. The Commissioner has raised the CIS with the National Working Group as there has been interest from around Australia regarding implementing this in other jurisdictions. At the moment, the Commissioner has a legislated right to submit them, but other jurisdictions do not.

In addition, the Commissioner has submitted other CIS relating to murder and other offences. These continue to be significant in assisting victims to have a voice in proceedings.

All other information is included in the Attorney-General's Department annual report