The Victims of Crime Act 1994 was established to acknowledge, protect and promote the interests of victims. It sets out some governing principles for the treatment of victims by agencies involved in the administration of justice.
Procedural justice for victims relates to how they are treated in the justice process. What matters to victims is being treated with dignity and respect, having a voice and being heard and being given the opportunity to participate in justice processes that affect them. Research with victims of crime has found that the early provision of support and (timely) provision of accurate information is fundamental to the prevention of re-traumatisation and the promotion of recovery. Failure to treat victims according to the guiding principles increases the risk of retraumatising them or making their recovery more difficult and drawn out.
Secondary victimisation occurs not as a direct result of a criminal act but through the response of institutions and individuals to a victim. Secondary victimisation may occur because of difficulties in balancing the rights of the victim against the rights of the accused or the offender. More often it occurs because those responsible for administering criminal justice processes and procedures do so without taking into account the governing principles in the treatment of victims.