New Zealand Law Society - Survey concludes justice system failing victims

Survey concludes justice system failing victims

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A survey canvassing the experience of victims in the criminal justice system has found that more than half of those surveyed considered their experience to be poor.

"The criminal justice system is failing victims," says Chief Victims Advisor to the Government Dr Kim McGregor.  

Dr McGregor says respondents reported largely negative experiences via the Strengthening the Criminal Justice System for Victims survey, which ran during February 2019. The survey of 620 respondents collected victims’ feedback on the criminal justice system, what works and what doesn’t, and how it can be improved.

“A majority of respondents told us that their experience of the criminal justice system was either poor or very poor and this is backed up by the stories people shared,” she says.

Dr McGregor says a majority of victims also told them that the criminal justice system doesn’t keep them safe, doesn’t provide them with enough support or information, and does not listen to their views, concerns or needs.

Following the presentation of preliminary results at the Strengthening the Criminal Justice System for Victims workshop in Wellington in March, a full survey report has now been published. A playback report capturing the discussion at the workshop has also been released.  

The survey and the workshop were designed to provide the Minister of Justice with victims’ views of what is needed to reform the criminal justice system for victims and their loved ones.  

“While the results are really concerning, they’re helpful in highlighting where reforms are needed, and I want to thank everyone who generously shared their thoughts, ideas and experiences. It’s clear that we need to do better for victims. Victims’ needs, which are diverse and often complex, must be at the heart of any criminal justice reform,” says Dr McGregor.  

The reports will inform Dr McGregor’s upcoming recommendations to the Government on how the justice system can be improved for victims.

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