Victorian Law Reform Commission Review: The role of victims in the criminal trial process
This submission argues that the adversarial trial process is failing victims and offenders alike.
The CIJ recommends the use of restorative and therapeutic justice approaches to better address the harms caused by crime and to address the underlying causes of crime.
The CIJ provided a submission to the Victorian Law Reform Commission on Victims of Crime in the Trial Process which argues for the potential of the criminal trial process to be harnessed to greater effect.
While founded on just principles and central to the development of the rule of law, the narrow parameters of the existing adversarial trial process too often fail victims and offenders alike ‐ ignoring any prospect of repairing the harm caused by an offence, as well as of addressing factors that lead to its commission. An opportunity exists, however, to expand the role of the criminal trial process, and to bring restorative, inquisitorial and therapeutic approaches into the heart of its operation.
An opportunity also exists to acknowledge that there are often more victims involved in a criminal trial process than we first might perceive. By addressing past victimisation ‐ in those who present as witnesses for the Crown, but also in those who appear as the accused ‐ we increase the possibility that the law can be a positive intervention in people’s lives and contribute to greater safety in the community.