It's been another big year for our office!
As 2021 draws to a close, it's a good time to reflect on our work over the past year.
This year has once again brought unique challenges that come with COVID-19, but our office has still made significant headway in improving things for victims.
We've had our busiest year yet, with our office receiving more than 2,600 enquiries, resulting in over 12,000 subsequent contacts.
There was an increase of 56% in our top five requests for assistance.
Earlier in the year we launched the renewed Court Support Program in collaboration with Victim Support Services, training 21 new volunteers and streamlining the process for victims to request help when going to court.
In September we also held our first Victims' Day, recognising the rights of victims and highlighting the work of government agencies, non-profit organisations and community-led groups that offer support throughout the community.
We also strengthened our relationship with SAPOL by holding a number of training and awareness sessions for Victim Contact Officers, prosecutors, Family Violence officers and detectives.
This year also saw our office coordinate a number of community impact statements, highlighting the damage caused to victims in the production and distribution of child exploitation material. This work was undertaken with the Carly Ryan Foundation and Joint Anti Child Abuse Team (JACET).
Alongside these new initiatives, we've continued to provide submissions on new legislation and refreshed our publications. We also helped victims in relation to 57 parole matters for life-sentenced prisoners, which involved over 900 contacts.
You can read more about our year in our annual report.
Lastly, I couldn't do all this without VOCSA staff, who continue to work tirelessly for all victims, so I want to acknowledge and thank them again.
Our office over the holidays
Our office will be closed from 25 December until 4 January, but a number of support services are still available if you need help over that time.
It's important to remember that Christmas is not always a celebration. For many families and vulnerable people it can be a difficult and stressful time.
Please find time to reach out to those who are alone or need some extra support over the holiday period if you can.
Have a safe and happy festive season.
Commissioner for Victims' Rights