This project involved an examination of the existing mechanisms for compensating victims of crime for harm, loss or damage suffered as the result of that crime. The project considered the adequacy of these mechanisms and made proposals for any changes were necessary or desirable. The project also considered the recommendations relating to victims’ compensation in the Justice and Electoral Committee’s report, Inquiry into Victims’ Rights.
Compensating Crime Victims (NZLC IP11, 2008)
The Commission's Issues Paper, Compensating Crime Victims (NZLC IP11, 2008).
Compensating Crime Victims (NZLC R121, 2010)
The Commission's Report, Compensating Crime Victims (NZLC R121, 2010), favours the alignment of the regimes for enforcement of reparation orders that exist for District Courts and the High Court, and that are contained in the Summary Proceedings Act 1957 and the Crimes Act 1961, respectively. The Government has recently decided to amend the law so that these regimes are consistent, which the Commission supports.
The Commission also recommends that the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009 be amended so that prosecutors may obtain a restraining order preventing a defendant from dissipating his or her assets prior to an order for reparation being made in favour of any victims. In order to ensure such restraining orders are cost-effective, the Commission recommends they be available only where the victim has suffered loss or damage of at least $20,000 and the usual costs of restraining property of the type involved are less that the value of the property itself.
The Government did not accept the recommendations to amend the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009 to provide a restraining order regime nor the recommendation to reprioritise payment of reparation ahead of legal aid repayments. However, it also appears that the Government had already implemented changes that had been canvassed in the Issues Paper in relation to victims’ rights and the role played by victims in the criminal justice system following a report of the Justice and Electoral Committee. The report noted that, as these developments addressed many of the broader concerns about the position of victims raised by submissions on our Issues Paper, we confined the report the other issues raised by our terms of reference. The Government did not accept that further changes needed to be made in this area.