6 Dec 2009

Victims' rights reviewed by Government

10:03 pm on 6 December 2009

Government agencies could be forced to account to Parliament when victims of crime make complaints about their services.

The suggestion is in a consultation paper the Government's released, looking at how victims' rights can be improved.

In the paper, the Government suggests establishing a Code of Practice for criminal justice agencies, such as the Police, the Department of Corrections and the Parole Board, and creating the role of a Victims of Crime complaints officer.

It also proposes the idea of requiring criminal justice agencies to report to Parliament on their services to victims and any complaints made by victims about those services.

Submissions on the review close at the end of March 2010.

Victim Impact Statement

Another proposal is to widen what a victim can say in court when they present their Victim Impact Statement.

That suggestion is being welcomed by Gil Elliott, who says up to a third of his impact statement was censored by the judge who jailed Clayton Weatherston for the murder of his daughter, Sophie Elliott.

Mr Elliot says the Government's suggestions would make a difference.

Weatherston, 33, stabbed Miss Elliott 216 times at her family's home in Dunedin on 9 January last year.