INDEPENDENT NEWS

More support for victims of sexual violence, serious crime

Published: Fri 6 May 2011 09:56 AM
Hon Simon Power
Minister of Justice
6 May 2011 Media Statement
Victims of sexual violence and serious crime to receive more support
Justice Minister Simon Power today announced more support for victims of sexual violence and serious crime at the Working with Sexual Violence Symposium in Auckland.
“A major priority of mine over the past two-and-a-half years has been to reform our justice system for the benefit of those who are in it through no fault of their own,” Mr Power said.
“The new entitlements I'm announcing today build on the eight entitlements and services already paid for by the $50 Offender Levy.
“The new entitlements are able to be funded because the Offender Levy is being collected more quickly than anticipated. This has allowed us to dedicate an additional $946,000 a year to expand services to cover more victims of crime.
“Today’s announcement brings the total number of victim services funded by the Offender Levy to 13.”
The new entitlements which are being funded are:
• A new court attendance grant of $100 per day for both victims of sexual violence and their unpaid support person. This will help them cover some of the financial costs incurred as a result of their attendance at court such as lost wages. Currently, victims of sexual violence can be paid for the time they spend testifying as a witness, but not for attending the rest of the trial.
• An expanded travel assistance scheme of up to $1,000 for victims of serious crime attending justice-related travel such as post-sentence restorative justice conferences, travel to court education for young victims, travel to meet victim advisors pre-trial, or travel to coronial hearings where a person has died as a result of a criminal act. Currently, the travel assistance scheme provides financial assistance for travel, accommodation, and related costs for victims of serious crime (and their unpaid support person) attending court proceedings of up to $3,000, and Parole Board hearings up to $1,500.
• A means-tested emergency grant of up to $2,000 for economically disadvantaged victims of serious crime including sexual assault. The grant will fund special assistance such as emergency accommodation, supplying security locks, trauma counselling, and relocation costs for victims of serious crime who have no way of supporting their own healing and recovery.
Mr Power said he was delighted to be announcing the extra support this week, being Rape Awareness Week.
“I'm confident these services will help support victims as they go through the criminal justice process.”
The full range of services funded by the Offender Levy is available here.
ENDS

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