Development of the Office of Commissioner of Victims’ Rights as an Appropriate Response to Improving the Experiences of Victims in the Criminal Justice System: Integrity, Access and Justice for Victims of Crime
Meeting the needs of crime victims has emerged as a significant 21st century concern. In the Australian context, various commissions of inquiry have recently considered how the interests of victims may be maintained in a system based on adversarial exchange between the accused and the state. Consensus has emerged around the further development of existing charters of victims’ rights as the framework through which victims’ interests may be secured. Importantly, reform of existing charter rights and the office that administers such charters, the Office of Commissioner of Victims’ Rights, provides a means of addressing the recommendations of the various inquiries in a way that supports the participatory needs of victims, while maintaining the independence and integrity of criminal justice processes that provide due process to the accused. This article considers the ways in which the Office of Commissioner of Victims’ Rights may be further developed to provide for the needs of victims against the need to maintain the adversarial character of criminal justice, and due process rights of the accused.