This witnesses and victims section is designed to explain the prosecution process, and tell you where to access support.
Witnesses and victims play an important role in the criminal justice system. A witness may be a victim of crime; a partner, relative or friend of a victim; or someone who was present when a crime was committed or may know something about it.
The Witness Assistance Service (WAS) supports victims of serious crime through the court process. The service is part of the Victims Strategy and Services directorate of the OPP's Legal Practice.
The Victims’ Charter sets out the principles on how the criminal justice system and victim support agencies should respond to victims of crime.
Witnesses and victims play an important role in the criminal justice system. The OPP recognises the need to support witnesses and victims through the process.
It is important that victims and witnesses feel safe during the court process. If you have any concerns about going to court and giving evidence, you should contact the police informant.
The main stages of the court process are committal, trial, plea, sentence and appeal. Having an understanding of the court process will assist you to prepare for your involvement in that process.
Explains the court process as it applies to matters where an accused person is prosecuted under the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried Act) 1997.
Going to court can be challenging for victims and witnesses. It is important to know about going to court and giving evidence.
By making a Victim Impact Statement, you have the opportunity to tell the court, in your own words, about the impact of the crime on you.
If the accused is prosecuted under the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997, you can make a Victim or Family Member Report telling the court about the impact of the crime on you. The report FORM can be accessed here.
You can claim expenses as a witness and can apply for compensation as a result of being a victim of crime.
The Victims Register provides information to victims of violent crime about adult prisoners while they are in prison. This includes information about parole and release date.
There are special arrangements in place for victims of sexual assault and victims of family violence who are required to give evidence. These arrangements apply to adult victims, child victims and victims with a cognitive impairment.
Prosecutions are generally heard in a court located in the geographic region where the crime occurred. Victoria’s main regional courts are situated in Bairnsdale, Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Horsham, LaTrobe Valley (Morwell), Mildura, Shepparton, Wangaratta, Warrnambool and Wodonga.
Being involved in the court process as a victim and/or witness can be challenging. There are a number of services you can access for information and support to help you through the process.
It is important for family members who have lost a loved one to violent crime to understand how the investigation and prosecution process works, and to be able to access relevant information.
This is a listing of support services.