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Victim Support releases research on victim viewpoints

29 August 2019

Independent community support organisation Victim Support has released research into the viewpoint of victims of serious crime.

The research, Victims' Voices: The Justice Needs and Experiences of New Zealand Serious Crime Victims, shows that the justice system must move beyond a "tick-box" culture and begin offering genuine justice for victims, researcher Petrina Hargrave says.

The research presents the findings of semi-structured interviews with 32 victims of serious crime. There was also a quantitative component where participants were asked to rate their satisfaction with key procedural needs and elements of the justice system.

It found that victims described justice as righting the wrong, accountability, and fairness. However, 68% of victims in the study felt that justice had not been served in their case - although the crimes 86% were the victims of had resulted in a guilty verdict, and 52% had resulted in imprisonment.

Of the respondents, 59% said they had no faith in the justice system.

The group of 32 participants included 31% who were victims of family violence, 19% had lost an immediate family member of homicide, 19% had been victims of sexual violence, 9% had been victims of both family and sexual violence, 6% had lost an immediate family member to a fatal road crash, 6% had been seriously injured in a fatal road crash, 6% had a family member affected by grievous bodily harm, and 3% had been the victim of a home invasion.

Participants were 62.5% female and 37.5% male and aged from 21 to 79 years, with half living in major cities and half in provincial/rural areas. They were 63% New Zealand European, 22% Maori, 3% Asian, 3% Pacific Island, and 9% Other.

Rating their satisfaction with 13 procedural needs and elements of the justice system, the Police received the highest rating, with accountability and responsibility lowest.

Mean satisfaction with justice needs and elements of the justice system (out of 10)
Needs and aspectsRatingStandard deviation
Police7.53.0
Restorative justice7.53.3
Support6.93.3
Information6.62.5
Respect6.53.2
Victim Impact Statements5.73.2
Acknowledgement5.33.4
Voice4.93.6
Speed of resolution4.52.8
Compensation4.02.8
Outcome3.93.2
Apology2.92.9
Accountability/responsibility2.42.5
Justice needs

Asked to rank the three most important justice needs, Support was the most frequently rated top need, followed by Voice and Information.

Last updated on the 16th September 2019