14. Victims of Crime and Vulnerable Witnesses

14.1   Prosecutors should have regard to Guidelines on the Treatment of Victims and Witnesses of the Prosecutions Division and The Victims of Crime Charter, 2007.

14.2   Victims of crime and vulnerable witnesses (because of age or psychological or physical condition) have special interests in the proceedings and special needs, which may affect their ability to give effective evidence if left unattended.

14.3   There is a public interest in facilitating the reporting of crime and in its effective prosecution. This may be promoted by treating such persons with respect and understanding and supporting them through the criminal justice process.

14.4   Victims are entitled to have their role in the proceedings fully explained and to be consulted during the course of proceedings about actions being taken and their effect on their rights. All attempts should be made to minimise the distress inherent in reliving and telling of traumatic personal events in interviews and in court.

14.5   Victims of crime have the rights to:

  1. be treated with courtesy and respect;
  2. be kept informed of the progress of the case;
  3. have their views considered by prosecutors and investigators;
  4. be provided with proper facilities at court;
  5. have their circumstances and views brought to the attention of the court where appropriate;
  6. be given respect for privacy and confidentiality.

14.6   A victim impact statement may need to be presented and updated medical reports may need to be obtained and tendered at first instance and on appeal.

14.7   Vulnerable witnesses who may or may not be victims of crime should be treated with similar respect for their rights, expectations and personal circumstances. They include children, persons with mental disabilities and witnesses in fear. It may be appropriate for protection to be provided to vulnerable witnesses or victims of crime by way of:

  1. giving evidence by live television link;
  2. playing electronically pre-recorded video evidence;
  3. a screen;
  4. a closed hearing;
  5. an expedited hearing;
  6. a continuous hearing;
  7. support persons;
  8. informality in court conduct;
  9. special security measures.

14.8   In cases where it is appropriate for the court to award compensation and/or restitution for harm or loss, the prosecutor should ensure that the court is fully and appropriately informed of all relevant circumstances.