07 Aug Research shows victims’ voices can’t be ignored
Victim Support says research released today shows it’s time to take action and put victims at the heart of the justice system.
Karen McLeay, Victim Support Acting Chief Executive, said the results of Chief Victims’ Advisor Dr Kim McGregor’s research, Strengthening the Criminal Justice System for Victims, paint a realistic picture of the justice system’s failings.
“What our support workers see when they journey with victims through the long and complex justice process is that victims don’t always find the justice they deserve,” said Ms McLeay.
“The system that should protect victims often revictimises them instead.”
For example, victims often felt they had few opportunities to be genuinely heard because they weren’t an official party in the process, and they often felt they were the ones on trial when cross-examined.
“The justice system should help in victims’ healing process, not add to the emotional stress and disadvantage they already experience due to victimisation.”
Victim Support released preliminary findings of its own research on victims’ justice system experiences in March, showing that 69% of participants felt justice had not been served and 59% had no faith in the justice system. The research also identified three key barriers to justice: fear, exclusion, and unfairness.
“We have enough local and international research now that victims’ voices cannot be ignored,” said Ms McLeay.
Victim Support will be releasing its final report, Victims’ Voices: The justice needs and experiences of New Zealand serious crime victims, with recommendations for improving the justice system experience for victims later this month.