Best practice communication with victims: A study for the OPP
The CIJ was commissioned by the Office of Public Prosecutions (Victoria) to provide advice about communicating more effectively with victims of crime.
When prosecutors decide not to proceed with a criminal trial, or to accept a plea offer from an accused person, victims may be left feeling disappointed with the outcome or bewildered by the process.
The OPP engaged the CIJ to suggest ways in which it might build on its already significant endeavours to improve victims’ encounters with the criminal justice system in these instances.
The objectives of this project were to:
- identify and understand victims’ experiences of being told about certain prosecution decisions
- identify areas for OPP improvement in managing these processes and communicating with victims about these processes and decisions
- propose best practice solutions to improve outcomes for victims, the OPP and the community; and
- identify areas for further research
The CIJ interviewed victims of crime about their experiences of being consulted by the OPP. The CIJ also spoke with social workers from the OPP’s Witness Assistance Service and with OPP lawyers.
The CIJ’s study revealed that generally victims can accept the outcome of a resolution decision, even if this was not what they wanted, if they experience feeling heard and respected during the prosecution process. Feeling genuinely consulted about resolution decisions is very important to victims.
In its report, the CIJ makes recommendations aimed at equipping the OPP to better meet the consultation and communication needs of victims. The CIJ has also written a best-practice guide for communicating with victims throughout the course of the prosecution, and for consulting them about resolution decisions, based on the findings of the project.
If implemented, these recommendations will ensure victims feel genuinely consulted about OPP resolution decisions, resulting in better experiences of the criminal justice system for victims.
You can download the full report using the link below.