Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

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A Bill for an Act to provide for victims of crime to be heard as part of criminal proceedings, and for related purposes
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Registered 23 Oct 2006
Introduced Senate 18 Oct 2006

2004‑2005‑2006

 

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

 

THE SENATE

 

 

 

 

Presented and read a first time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crimes Amendment (Victim Impact Statements) Bill 2006

 

No.      , 2006

 

(Senator Ludwig)

 

 

 

A Bill for an Act to provide for victims of crime to be heard as part of criminal proceedings, and for related purposes

  

  


Contents

1............ Short title............................................................................................ 1

2............ Commencement.................................................................................. 1

3............ Objects................................................................................................ 1

4............ Schedule(s).......................................................................................... 2

Schedule 1— Amendment of the Crimes Act 1914                                              3

 


A Bill for an Act to provide for victims of crime to be heard as part of criminal proceedings, and for related purposes

The Parliament of Australia enacts:

1  Short title

                   This Act may be cited as the Crimes Amendment (Victim Impact Statements) Act 2006.

2  Commencement

                   This Act commences on the day on which it receives the Royal Assent.

3  Objects

                   The objects of this Act are to:

                     (a)  provide for victim impact statements;

                     (b)  extend the rights of the victims of crime to provide them with the opportunity to be heard as part of the matters to which a court is to have regard when passing sentence;

                     (c)  provide for consistency in the use of victim impact statements in federal criminal proceedings.

4  Schedule(s)

                   Each Act that is specified in a Schedule to this Act is amended or repealed as set out in the applicable items in the Schedule concerned, and any other item in a Schedule to this Act has effect according to its terms.


 

Schedule 1 Amendment of the Crimes Act 1914

1  After paragraph 16A(2)(e)

Insert:

                    (ea)  any victim impact statements and victim reports;

2  After section 16A

Insert:

16AA  Victim impact statements and victim reports

             (1)  In this Division:

harm includes:

                     (a)  physical injury;

                     (b)  psychological or emotional suffering, including grief;

                     (c)  contraction or fear of contraction of a sexually transmissible medical condition;

                     (d)  pregnancy suffered as a result of criminal activity;

                     (e)  economic loss.

relative includes a relative according to Aboriginal tradition or contemporary social practice, a spouse or a de facto partner.

victim means:

                     (a)  a natural person who suffers harm arising from an indictable offence; or

                     (b)  where the person referred to in paragraph (a) dies as a result of the commission of the offence, a person who was a relative of, or who was financially or psychologically dependent on the person.

victim impact statement means an oral or written statement prepared for the purposes of subsection (2) containing details of the harm suffered by a victim of an offence arising from the offence.

victim report means an oral or written statement, prepared by the prosecutor for the purposes of subsection (5), containing details of the harm suffered by a victim of an offence arising from the offence.

             (2)  A victim is to be notified of the entitlement to file a victim impact statement in sufficient time for the statement to be prepared and lodged for the court’s consideration before passing sentence.

             (3)  The court registrar shall prepare and issue information guides for the purpose of assisting the preparation of a victim impact statement.

             (4)  The prosecutor shall present to the court, before it sentences an offender in relation to an offence, a victim impact statement, if:

                     (a)  the victim consents to its presentation; or

                     (b)  in the case of a victim who, because of age or physical or mental disability or harm suffered as a result of the crime, is incapable of giving consent—the victim impact statement has been prepared by a person who, in the opinion of the court, has a sufficiently close relationship with the victim.

             (5)  The prosecutor shall present to the court, before it sentences an offender in relation to an offence, a victim report in relation to each victim of the offence, if:

                     (a)  the victim has not consented to the presentation to the court of a victim impact statement in relation to him or her but has been informed of the contents of the victim report and does not object to its presentation; or

                     (b)  in the case of a victim who, because of age or physical or mental disability or harm suffered as a result of the crime, is incapable of giving consent—a person who, in the opinion of the court, has a sufficiently close relationship with the victim has been informed of the contents of the victim report and does not object to its presentation; or

                     (c)  the victim cannot, after reasonable attempts have been made by the prosecutor, be located, and there are readily ascertainable details of the harm suffered by the victim arising from the offence that are not already before the court as evidence or as part of a pre‑sentence report prepared in relation to the offender.

             (6)  With the permission of the court, a person other than the prosecutor may present a victim impact statement.

             (7)  Subject to subsections (11), (12), (13) and (14), the court shall consider each victim impact statement and each victim report, if any, in relation to an offence before determining the sentence to be imposed in relation to the offence.

             (8)  A victim impact statement or a victim report may contain details of the harm caused to the victim of the offence to which the statement or report relates arising from another offence:

                     (a)  for which the offender has already been sentenced, or will be sentenced in the proceedings then before the court; or

                     (b)  which has already been taken into account in a sentence or which may be taken into account in the proceedings then before the court.

             (9)  A victim impact statement or a victim report may contain a statement as to the victim’s wishes in respect of the sentence that the court may impose in relation to the offence referred to in the statement or the report.

           (10)  A court must not draw an inference in favour of an offender or against a victim because a victim impact statement or a victim report is not presented to the court.

           (11)  At the court’s discretion, a victim impact statement may be excised in whole or in part.

           (12)  A court must not take into account a written victim impact statement unless:

                     (a)  it has been signed by the victim if the victim is capable of signing; or

                     (b)  it meets the requirements of subsection (4).

           (13)  A court must not take into account a victim impact statement or a victim report unless:

                     (a)  if the statement or report is in writing—a copy of the statement or report is provided to the offender; or

                     (b)  if the statement or report is to be presented to the court orally—a written or oral summary of the contents of the statement or report is provided to the offender.

           (14)  A victim impact statement may be received by a court only in relation to offences where harm is suffered by a person.