The Northern Territory government, through the Department of the Attorney-General and Justice (the Department) is currently undertaking a body of work relating to how the Territory’s justice system can facilitate better outcomes for victims of crime in the Territory. The primary component of this body of work involves the conduct of a legislative review of the Territory’s current victims of crime assistance, rights and services scheme (the current scheme), which is established under the Victims of Crime Rights and Services Act (VOCRAS Act), the Victims of Crime Assistance Act (VOCA Act), and related regulations. To complement this review, the Government has also developed two additional reform proposals relating to victims of crime, namely, a proposal for a victim-offender conferencing scheme for adult offenders, and a proposal for amendments to restitution and compensation orders made under the Sentencing Act.
The Northern Territory government is putting victims of crime first, and this discussion paper has been developed to enable the community to provide feedback on how victims of crime may best be supported in our community. In 2013, the Department undertook a legislative review of the VOCA Act, as required by section 70 of that Act (the 2013 review). Multiple stakeholders were consulted, and provided written submissions to the Department as part of that review. The government acknowledges and thanks stakeholders for their involvement and contribution. The recommendations arising from the 2013 review that the government considers could be progressed as part of this review are attached (Attachment A1 refers).
The purpose of this discussion paper is to set out these three reform proposals, for consideration by key stakeholders and the wider public, and to invite submissions about the proposals.
This discussion paper is divided into three parts.
- Part One provides the context for the legislative review by way of an overview of the current scheme, and an outline of some concerns with the current scheme.
- Part Two considers how the current scheme could be reformed by examining some of the different approaches taken by other jurisdictions, and putting forward a broad proposal for reform in this area.
- Part Three contains the two additional reform proposals, namely the proposal for a victim-offender conferencing scheme for adult offenders, and amendments to restitution and compensation orders, which are designed to complement the broad proposal to reform the current scheme.