ACON, in partnership with the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, is holding a meeting to hear community views on how the law can be strengthened to better protect victim’s rights in response to the announcement last week that the NSW Charter of Victims Rights is to be reviewed.

The Charter of Victims Rights aims to promote and protect the rights of victims of crime and sets out how government agencies should treat and assist victims.

The Charter requires that victims are: treated with dignity, compassion, cultural sensitivity and respect; given access to welfare, health, counselling and legal assistance; informed of relevant police investigations and court processes; protected from the person accused of causing them harm; and entitled to claim compensation if they are a victim of assault.

We would like to hear from people in our community who have been victims of crime, their family and friends, and the wider community,” ACON CEO Stevie Clayton said.

“The Charter states, for example, that victims have the right to be treated with courtesy, compassion and respect and the right to be kept informed of the progress of the investigation and the prosecution. We need people to tell us whether or not that’s happening.

This is an important opportunity for our community to tell the government about our experiences reporting crime and with the court process. We need to let them know what’s working and where there’s need for improvement Ms Clayton said.

The questions the government is seeking feedback on include: What is the best way to uphold/enforce the Charter of Victims Rights? Does the Charter of Victims Rights adequately reflect the needs of victims in NSW? What elements of the Charter are most important to be upheld for victims? The consultation paper can be viewed on the ACON website.

People are also invited to email their experiences and comments to ACON’s Lesbian and Gay Anti-Violence Project at avp@acon.org.au.

The community forum will be held on Wednesday 26 August, 6-7:30pm at ACON, 9 Commonwealth St. Please RSVP by emailing the Anti-Violence Project at avp.acon.org.au.

Submissions close September 4. The Attorney General’s Department has also created an online survey, available at www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/vs.

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