Sometimes victims of crime need or want to be kept informed after court about the management of the offender convicted of the offence/s against them.
In the ACT, it is possible for victims of the offence/s to have their name and contact details recorded with a victims' register in order to receive information about a sentenced offender and the administration of their sentence.
There are two registers in the ACT. One is for victims of adult offenders and one for victims of young offenders. Young offenders are children and young people who were under the age of 18 years at the time the offence was committed.
Victims of adult offenders can register with the Victims' Register held by ACT Corrective Services. Victims of offences committed by young offenders can register with the Victims Register held by the Office for Children, Youth and Family Support within the Department Community Services. Both Registers are strictly controlled by authorised staff only.
You can be placed on either of the registers if:
- you have suffered harm because of an offence; harm includes physical injury, mental injury or emotional suffering (including grief), pregnancy, economic loss or substantial impairment or their rights accorded by law;
- you were financially or psychologically dependent on the victim immediately before that person died as a result of a criminal act committed against them; or
- you have parental responsibility of a person less than 15 years of age who was the victim of a criminal act.
If you are the victim of a sentenced adult offender serving a term of imprisonment the sort of information you can receive includes:
- the length of the sentence, the offender's parole eligibility date and the earliest release date;
- the correctional centre where the offender is detained and any transfer of the offender to another correctional facility;
- any change in the offender's security classification which may result in the offender being eligible for unescorted leave;
- any un-escorted leave given to the offender; and
- the death, escape of or any other exceptional event relating to the offender.
In the ACT, the Sentence Administration Board determines whether an offender is suitable for release on parole. As a registered victim, you will be given the opportunity to provide a written submission to the Board about the offender's possible release to parole.
If you are the registered victim of an offender who is serving a sentence by way of periodic detention or a community based order you may receive the following information:
- the duration of the offender's order;
- in general terms, information about the place and time the offender may be required to report for periodic detention or community service work;
- any non-association order or place restriction order that relates to you;
- the cancellation or variation of the offender's order.
The sort of information a registered victim of a young offender will receive in most cases is:
- the name, conditions and length of the order the young offender is subject to, including any combination of sentences, dates of imprisonment and release;
- the name of the detention place the young offender will be detained or if applicable, may be transferred to, if on a custodial order;
- any changes in the supervision of the young offender, for example a transfer to another state;
- a general description of the nature of supervision by Community Youth Justice and any programs the young offender is participating in as a condition of their sentence;
- the escape, death or any other exceptional event relating to the young offender;
- any information that relates to the safety of the victim.
Information kept on the Victims' Register is used only for the purpose of contacting and informing a registered victim about a sentenced offender. Information is confidential and is not released to others unless ordered by a court.
Sometimes offenders are found unfit to plead or not guilty of the charges against them because they have mental health issues or an intellectual disability. In some cases, these offenders might be referred to the ACT Administrative and Civil Tribunal (ACAT) to determine appropriate processes.
Victim Support ACT can help you with registration to the registers. Victim Support ACT can also assist you if you have questions about an offender's involvement in the ACAT or would like help to make a submission to the Sentence Administration Board.