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Victims of Crime in the Courtroom

A new guide for judicial officers: ‘Victims of Crime in the Courtroom’Victims of Crime in the Courtroom

This publication comprehensively details considerations for judicial officers and court staff to limit re-traumatisation of victims and enhance opportunities for post-traumatic growth, without compromising the integrity of the criminal justice system.

In developing this guide, a regularly arising issue was controversy around the appropriateness of the term ‘victim’. In some cases, there is no doubt that a person has suffered some wrongdoing, while in others, the fundamental issue is whether there was any wrongdoing at all. While acknowledging this, we have chosen to use the language of ‘victims’ as a single term to cover any person who has, or is alleged to have, suffered harm as the result of unlawful action. In the guidance notes on victims of sexual offences, we have discussed the issue of terminology further, to reflect the difficult issues that arise in those types of cases.

The guidance notes canvass the crucial role that judicial officers, police, prosecution, court staff and defence teams can each play in influencing a victim’s experience of the justice system.

These guidance notes can be downloaded individually below or as a complete publication via the link above:

  1. Introduction - The Language of 'Victims'
  2. Understanding Trauma
  3. The courtroom experience and public confidence
  4. Victims as witnesses: facilitating best evidence
  5. Plea Hearings, Sentencing & Victim Impact Statements
  6. CALD backgrounds
  7. Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Peoples
  8. Religious backgrounds
  9. Disability
  10. LGBTI community
  11. Victims of family violence
  12. Victims of sexual offences
  13. Cases involving loss of life: communicating with family members
  14. Child Victims

This guide is intended to be a living document. Please let us know if you have suggestions for expansion or revision by emailing: info@judicialcollege.vic.edu.au