Complainants and victims of crime are entitled to be part of a society that respects and protects their human rights. As we have previously submitted, Liberty Victoria strongly supports the view that complainants and victims of crime should be treated with courtesy, respect and dignity throughout the criminal justice process. We support the governing principles set out in the Victims’ Charter Act 2006 (Vic) in relation to the treatment of persons adversely affected by crime. We have supported measures, such as intermediaries, to ensure that persons with cognitive impairments and children are afforded equal participation in the criminal trial process.
Accused persons, and those who plead or are found guilty of criminal offences, are also entitled to have their human rights respected and protected. That includes bedrock principles such as the presumption of innocence, the right to a fair hearing or trial, the criminal standard of proof, and proportionate sentences.
One of the great challenges of the criminal justice system is determining how to balance competing rights in a manner that will improve community safety.
The focus of this submission is on the ways in which the criminal justice system impacts accused persons and people who offend. By improving their chances of rehabilitation, and by reducing risks of reoffending, each of our proposed reforms directly benefit the wider community.