VICTIMS OF CRIME
A victim of crime is a person who has suffered or has been affected because of crime. It can include the victim, or someone who saw the crime, like witness as well as family members and friends on the victim. For example, if you saw someone being hurt or killed, you could be considered a victim of crime.
To be a victim of crime, you don’t necessarily need to have physical injuries. Crimes affect different people in different ways. Many victims of crime have emotional or psychological injuries as well.
Even though there are many reactions to crime, every person is unique and so everyone’s experience will be different. Some effects of crime may be felt immediately but others might take longer to notice. It’s important to get help and support to deal with these effects. This will help a person recover. See the Northern Territory Government Crime Victims Services webpage for useful information and links.
Victims of crime in the Northern Territory have special rights in a document called the Charter for Victims Rights. The charter explains that, as a victim, you have a right to be treated with courtesy, compassion, cultural sensitivity and respect for the victim’s rights and dignity.
The charter also explains what happens throughout the police process, and what support there is for you. The charter also says you have the right to have your privacy and protection.
If you have any questions about your rights as a victims of crime please contact the Victims of Crime Services Unit between 8:30am and 4:00pm,, Monday to Friday on 1800 460 363 or (08) 8924 4080. You can visit their website here LINK: http://www.nt.gov.au/justice/solicitor/cvsu/contact.shtml
If you are in immediate danger, call the police on 000.
If you think that the offender (the person who has committed a crime) will harm you again, you should contact a police officer. You can find your nearest police station here LINK: http://www.pfes.nt.gov.au/Contact-Us.aspx
The police will tell you what you can do and might advise you to get an order to stop the offender from coming near you harming you. These orders are called Restraining Orders (‘RO’) or Domestic Violence Orders (‘DVO’) .
You can apply for a RO/DVO in two ways:
- A police officer can apply on your behalf (called a ‘police application’); or
- You can personally apply through the Magistrates Court (called a ‘private application’).
For more information about applying for a RO/DVO, you can contact any one of the following services:
- NT Legal Aid Commission Legal Information Line - 1800 019 343
- Central Australian Women’s Legal Service - 1800 684 055
- Central Australian Aboriginal Family Legal Unit - 1800 088 884
If you are under 18 years of age, the police must apply for an DVO/RO on your behalf, or if you are over 15, you can apply if you have special permission from the court.
If you have suffered a physical or mental injury as a result of a violent act committed in the NT that was reported to the police, you may be able to apply for financial assistance from the Victims of Crime Financial Assistance Scheme.
Compensation is a bit complicated in the Northern Territory, so if you would like to know more information which relates to you and your child or are acting on behalf of a child, please send us a Lawmail and we can give you more information.
It’s important to know that you have two years from the date of the violent act or injury to make an application for financial assistance.
If you need help completing your application, you can contact an officer at the Crimes Victims Services Unit on 1800 460 363 if you live in the Northern Territory, or (08) 8924 4080.
You can apply for compensation online by clicking on the links on the Department of Attorney General’s website: LINK: http://www.nt.gov.au/justice/solicitor/cvsu/index.shtml and filling out the form.
If you aren’t able to get free counselling from the government, there are other people you can talk to as well for free.
Victims of Crime NT Inc provides a wide range of support including counselling, court preparation and support, and lots of information on different areas including example Victim Impact Statements and stories from other victims. You can check out their website here or contact them on 1800 672 242. This is a 24 hour contact line.
Witness Assistance Service has services to help you such as understanding how the court process works and helping you prepare your victim’s impact statement. Their contact number is 1800 659 449 or you can go to their website here.
If you are a victim of sexual assault or family & domestic violence you can call the National Sexual Assault, Family & Domestic Violence Counselling Line on 1800 737 732. They give specialised counselling and support for victims of this type of crime.
If you aren’t sure who to talk to, you can send us a Lawmail and we can let you know the best person to talk to in your situation.
If it’s an emergency, call 000 immediately. Emergencies include if a crime is going on right now, if someone is seriously injured or in danger or another crime is about to happen or get worse.
If it’s not an emergency, you can report a crime by:
- ringing the Police Assistance Line on 131 444. This line is open 24 hours 7 days a week; or
- report a crime in person by visiting a local police station. Most police stations will have access to Domestic Violence Officers, Youth Liaison Officers, Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officers and Aboriginal Liaison Officers if they are needed. You can find your local police station here: LINK: http://www.pfes.nt.gov.au/Contact-Us.aspx
Things that you could call the PAL for are things like stealing, stolen cars, graffiti, car accidents and someone robbing your house.
If you are unsure about whether to report a crime, you can send us a Lawmail.
The police will first begin investigating the crime by talking to the victim and any witnesses. In most circumstances, you are entitled to know about the progress of the investigation.
If the police plan to charge someone, the victim should be told what the charges are, when the court hearing will be, and what the result of the case is, and what the punishment has been.
If the police don’t charge anyone, or they change the charge, they should tell the victim why they have done this..
For information about the investigation and prosecution of the accused, you can ring the police officer in charge of your case or the prosecuting solicitor at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (“DPP”) on (08) 8935 7500.
If you wish to find out more about reporting a crime please send us a Lawmail here.
If the defendant (the person the police think have done the crime) pleads guilty, you and other witnesses are not usually required to give evidence.
If the defendant pleads not guilty, you might be given court notices by either the investigating officer of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) telling you when you need to go to court. If you are given a notice, you must attend court. If you are worried about giving evidence, you should speak to the police officer or DPP officer that is handling the case. It’s not a good idea to simply not show up when you have been given a notice and you may get in trouble from the court.
At sentencing (when the court decides what the punishment should be), the court will read your victim impact statement which explains in your words how the crime has affected you, and how you think the offender should be punished. The judge doesn’t have to agree with your views 100% but they will take them on board when deciding.
If you think you may be called as a witness in court, you can get some help to prepare for being a witness from the Witness Assistance Service by emailing AGD DPP Witness.AssistanceService@nt.gov.au or making a free call to 1800 659 449. More information can be found here on the Northern Territories Director of Public Prosecutions website.
If you have a question about giving evidence, you can also send us a Lawmail.
If you are a victim of crime and you want information about an offender who is in jail, you may be eligible to be listed on a victims register. A victim’s register provides information about an offender’s impending release, escape from custody, parole considerations or any unescorted absence from custody.
You can apply register for the Northern Territory’s Victims Register here: http://www.nt.gov.au/justice/solicitor/documents/cvsu/NT%20Victims%20Register%20Application%20Form%20-%20201504victims-register-form.pdf
For more information, please go to the Department of Attorney General’s factsheet at this link: http://www.nt.gov.au/justice/solicitor/documents/cvsu/NT%20Victims%20Register%20Information%20Sheet.pdf
If you a have question about victims of crime, that we haven’t answered here, please send us a Lawmail.
This page was last updated on the 13th of June 2015