Officers from ACT Policing are often the first people to come into contact with a victim after a crime has occurred. The interaction between a police officer and a victim is often crucial in shaping the attitudes and experience of a victim in the criminal justice system.
The Act provides that a victim should be treated in a sympathetic, constructive and reassuring way at all times. Treating victims in this way also assists the police as the victim is likely to be more willing to provide information and be involved as a witness in the judicial system. Police providing victims with information about victim support and crisis services as soon as a crime has occurred is also beneficial to a victim.
The Act provides that a victim should be told at reasonable intervals (generally not more than one month) of the progress of police investigations about the relevant offence. The exception to this principle is if the disclosure of information would jeopardise the investigation and in that case the victim should be told accordingly.
Sometimes there will be no change in the progress of an investigation, but checking in with a victim and letting them know this can be a comfort to victims and ensure that they feel like they are still part of the justice process. If an investigation is likely to be lengthy, letting a victim know this information and informing them that contact will be made when there are changes to the situation can ensure they are not left feeling as though they are not being kept informed.