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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 17 August 2010) . . Page.. 3437 ..


The bill does a number of important things. I would like to take the opportunity to reiterate and highlight some of these reforms. The bill establishes the position of the Victims of Crime Commissioner. The changed name reflects the significant and diverse role the Victims of Crime Coordinator currently undertakes.

I note the somewhat petulant criticism of Mrs Dunne by begrudging the provision of a car for the Victims of Crime Commissioner. I am sure that will not be missed by the occupant of that position. I think it really reflects the failure to understand that the government is seeking to enhance the status and standing of the person who is charged, first and foremost, under our laws, with advancing and representing the interests of victims.

Is Mrs Dunne seriously suggesting that the Victims of Crime Coordinator needs to catch the bus to do her job or should she be entitled to a car in the same way that other senior statutory office-holders are? It is a very miserable view of the world. On that note, I would like to express my thanks to the Victims of Crime Coordinator, Ms Robyn Holder, for her important service to victims in the territory over many years and, more particularly, for her input into the reforms we are debating here today. The Victims of Crime Coordinator has published a number of reports detailing aspects of the effectiveness of the current legislation and has made these reports available to the reference group considering these reforms. It would perhaps pay Mrs Dunne well to read these reports.

The government has considered and responded to the broad range of issues which have been raised in the development of this bill. What we have here today is a bill that provides the appropriate framework for the protection and promotion of victims’ issues in the territory. The commission’s functions are now clearly defined within the legislation and, as Mr Rattenbury appropriately points out, this has been a significant area of ambiguity in the current act.

Indeed, the coordinator has regularly spoken about the fact that the area of advocacy is by far the most common area of operation for the Victim of Crime Coordinator’s office and one of the most contentious for criminal justice agencies. Quite simply, it is often the case that criminal justice agencies do not enjoy somebody advocating and representing the interests of victims to them. They find it a difficult and uncomfortable experience at times.

In the December 2007 report entitled The quality of justice, the VoCC said that agencies indicated that there needs to be more clarity on the distinction between advocacy as assistance or advocacy as a service. The bill addresses this by clearly stating that the commissioner has a function to advocate for the interests of victims of crime.

The government has already established a one-stop shop for victims of crime in the ACT through the creation of Victim Support ACT. Victim Support ACT aims to make it easier for victims, their families and those affected by crime to access the full range of services that are available to them. The reforms further enhance this concept by providing that the oversight of the victims services scheme and any other program for


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