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Prisoners Review Board of Western Australia

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Victims of Crime

A victim of an offence is a person who has suffered injury, loss or damage as a direct result of the offence. Where the offence resulted in a death, any member of the immediate family of the deceased is considered to be a victim.

Submissions

Victims are encouraged to speak up on the prospect of parole for offenders who targeted them.

The Board welcomes submissions from victims. All victims’ input is fully considered when deciding on a prisoner’s suitability for parole and when determining the conditions imposed on a parole order.

A victim’s submission must be in writing and must address either or both of the following:

  • The victim’s opinion of the effect the release of the prisoner would have on the victim; and
  • Make suggestions about the conditions that should apply if the prisoner is released.

Submissions can be typed or handwritten and may be sent to the Board by mail.

If a victim cannot make a submission due to age, disability or other difficulties, another person may make a submission on their behalf. The Victim Support Service, run by the Department of the Attorney General and located at the District Court building in Perth, can help those who have difficulties with English or any other issues.

There is a template for victim submissions, it helps victims to identify the issues that need to be addressed. It must be signed by the victim for it to be recognised by the Board.

The victim submission is never shown to the prisoner or any person acting for, or representing, the prisoner. Victim submissions are treated with the strictest confidentiality and cannot be accessed or obtained under the Freedom of Information Act 1992.

Victim Notifications

While it is not the role of the Board to notify victims of a parole decision, victims can get this information from the Victim Notification Register if they are registered with this service.

Under the Victims of Crime Act 1994, victims may request to be informed about the impending release or escape of an offender in custody.

The Victim Notification Register (VNR) is the ongoing link between the justice system and a victim of crime if the person who offended against them is serving a term of imprisonment. That is, VNR is the agency responsible for providing information to victims about the court and correctional management of an offender once the offender is under the supervision of DCS, including offenders released to parole.

Information from VNR is not automatically received by victims of crime. Some victims do not want to receive information about the offender once they are imprisoned. Therefore, if a victim of crime does want to receive information, the victim must register with VNR. VNR does not make any decisions relating to the sentencing and/or correctional management of an offender.

Upon the release of an offender to parole, VNR can provide victims with information about the location of the Community Corrections Centre where the offender will be required to report for their period of supervision. Victims are notified in writing of any changes to the offender's circumstances, usually within 5 days of that change occurring. Personal information about the offenders is not available. Registering with VNR is voluntary and subject to eligibility.

Victims registered with VNR will be notified of any decisions made by the Board relating to the relevant offender. In addition, victims may submit a Victim Impact Statement to the Board through VNR. VNR can be contacted by telephoning (08) 9425 2870, or Freecall 1800 818 988.

Victim Concerns

If a victim becomes aware of a prisoner who is acting in a way they shouldn’t while on parole, and that prisoner is potentially putting themselves or the community at risk, victims can report the matter to the local branch of the Corrective Services Division, Department of Justice or notify the Victim Notification Register. If the matter is urgent and requires an immediate response, or a person's safety is at risk, then phone the emergency number 000.

Victim Impact Statements

On 11 December 2013 in the Legislative Council, the Attorney General announced several immediate reforms to improve services for victims of crime across the Western Australia’s criminal justice system.

One of these initiatives is that copies of Victim Impact Statements given to a court will now be automatically provided to the Board.

Specifically, this means that a copy of any Victim Impact Statement submitted to a Western Australian court, pursuant to section 24(1) of the Sentencing Act 1995 (WA) will be provided to the Board’s administration for inclusion on the files of relevant prisoners or mentally impaired accused.

The Victim Support Service has committed to providing Victim Impact Statements to the Board for any victim who has provided their written consent to do so. Not all victims are assisted by the Victim Support Service and in these instances, some victims may provide their Victim Impact Statements directly to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and/or the Western Australian Police Service who will then deliver these documents to the Board.

This new source of information regarding the effects on the victim of the commission of the offence will supplement other information received by the Board under section 5C of the Sentence Administration Act, 2003 (WA) from victims who make written submissions stating the victim’s opinion of the effect the release of the prisoner would have on the victim and containing suggestions about the conditions that should apply to the prisoner if released.

Further information may be accessed on the Victim Support Service or Victims of Crime websites.

Last updated: 17-Nov-2017

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