Victims’ rights and procedural justice in New Zealand

Dr Kim  McGregor1
1New Zealand Government , Wellington , New Zealand

The effectiveness of a criminal justice system relies on the trust, confidence, engagement, and participation of victims. Yet, adversarial criminal justice systems such as those in Australia and New Zealand are primarily committed to ensuring the accused is given a fair trial. The right to a fair trial is one sided when it fails to include the needs of victims and recognise the importance of procedural justice for victims.

In recent years many countries, including New Zealand, have taken steps to reinforce ideas about procedural justice, such as enacting laws that provide for a Code of victims’ rights. The rights and principles in the Victims Code 2015 shine a light on both the good practices currently in place, and the challenges and opportunities to better provide for victims of crime.

The New Zealand Government has committed to criminal justice reform and will be launching a public conversation on new ideas to reform the criminal justice system. This presents a unique opportunity to recognise the importance of procedural justice for victims.

In this presentation, I will discuss barriers to procedural justice for victims, solutions to dealing with these barriers, particularly by implementing the Victims Code 2015, and how victims’ voices are being included in the adult criminal justice system reforms.


Biography:

Dr Kim McGregor is the inaugural Chief Victims Advisor to Government in New Zealand, and was appointed to this role in November 2015. Her role was established as part of a wider suite of government initiatives aimed at addressing family violence and providing support for all people who experience crime. The appointment also sought to improve victim participation in, and engagement with, the criminal justice system.

Alongside her role as Chief Victims Advisor, Dr McGregor is also the Director of her own company, ‘Tiaki Consultants’, which offers specialist sexual violence prevention services including consultation, counselling, research and training.

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