While the public face of Victim Support is our day-to-day business of supporting victims of crime, trauma, and suicide, we also advocate for victims behind the scenes. Victim Support undertakes research and routinely makes submissions on proposed legislation that affects victims.
Our advocacy is based on robust research to help show the lived experience of victims. We aim to give victims a voice and ensure evidence both from New Zealand and internationally informs government policy decisions and public conversations and victims’ issues.
Victim Support is committed to ensuring victims have a voice and are at the heart of our justice system.
Research: Victims' Voices: The Justice Needs and Experiences of New Zealand Serious Crimes Victims
The key message from our 2019 research was that victims need to know that they genuinely matter in our justice system. The research found most victims lacked faith in the justice system and felt justice was not served in their case and highlighted the need for improvements to procedural justice to meet victims’ needs.
The research showed:
- the current justice system is failing to deliver justice to victims and is eroding their faith in it
- victims’ definitions of justice are more a set of values rather than an outcome, but these are largely absent from the current system
- victims face barriers of fear, exclusion, and unfairness to participation and finding justice in the system
- victims’ needs are not consistently met in the justice system
- support was the most important justice need
- underpinning these barriers and unmet needs is a perception among victims that the justice system does not genuinely care about them.
2021: Submission on Violence Free Aotearoa National Strategy
Our submission is informed by our work with the full spectrum of adult family violence clients, including many who slip through the cracks between other services, such as whānau affected by "low risk" family harm, male victims, and intra-familial violence (IFV) victims - those harmed by a family member who is not their intimate partner.
We support the Violence Free Aotearoa National Strategy and the seven action points to prevent family and sexual violence, and in this submission provided feedback from our frontline Whānau Support Workers to help shape the focus areas. Our conclusions are that the Strategy should focus on;
- Those who could fall through the cracks
- Early intervention
- Cultural responsiveness
- Build trust
- Eliminate fear
- No wrong door
- Range of engagement options
- Victim/whānau-led support
- Systemic changes
2021: Submission on the Rights for Victims of Insane Offenders Bill
Despite often experiencing the most serious offences and the crime being proven, victims of legally insane offenders are denied many of the most basic rights that victims could normally expect in our justice system. This includes the right to make a victim impact statement, or any substantive rights to be informed or have their views heard about the release of the perpetrator.
Victim Support’s submission explains why better procedural justice matters for victims and calls for Parliament to support legislative reform that gives victims of insane offenders greater parity. It calls for renaming the verdict to recognise acts are proven; embedding victims’ rights in the Mental Health Act; giving victims the right to make a Victim Impact Statement and make submissions to the Mental Health Review Tribunal; and give victims a say in the release of the offender.
2020: Submission on the death, funerals, burial and cremation legislation review
Our submission is informed by our work with this wide group of bereaved individuals and research on the needs of people bereaved by sudden death. We wish to advocate on behalf of these vulnerable New Zealanders in three key areas:
- Increasing transparency around funeral directors’ charges.
- Regulation of the funeral industry.
- Commitment to making legislation centred around the individual and cultural needs of the bereaved.
2019: Submission on the Arms Legislation Bill
Victim Support welcomes the opportunity to make a submission on the Arms Legislation Bill to improve the safety and well-being of New Zealanders. We strongly support this legislation.