28 March 2024

Queensland on the hunt for a permanent Victims’ Commissioner

| Andrew McLaughlin
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Yvette D'Ath

Outgoing Queensland Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath says the position has been created to focus on the needs of victims. Photo: Screenshot.

Applications for the permanent Queensland Victims’ Commissioner role have opened.

The process of finding a permanent commissioner comes after the office of the Interim Victims’ Commissioner was established last September, with former Queensland Police officer Jon Rouse in the interim role.

The office was set up following recommendations made in three separate inquiries – the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce, the Commission of Inquiry into Queensland Police Services responses to domestic and family violence, and the Legal Affairs and Safety Committee Inquiry into support provided to Victims of Crime – all of which identified a need for an independent Queensland Victims’ Commissioner that promotes and protects the needs and rights of victims of crime.

The Queensland Government says the Victims’ Commissioner will play a critical role in championing the rights of victims. It says it provides a platform for their voices to be heard within the criminal justice system, and seeks to address systemic issues impacting their welfare.

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It says the permanent Victims’ Commissioner will be requested to review the Charter of Victims’ Rights to consider whether additional rights should be recognised, or if existing rights should be expanded. They will also develop a website to help guide victims to navigate the criminal justice process.

Mr Rouse’s 39 years of experience advocating for vulnerable victims of crime has helped him guide the establishment of the role and office which has engaged directly with hundreds of victims across key regions of the state. He has also helped to identify the training needs for government agencies to interact with victims in a trauma-informed manner.

The permanent Victims’ Commissioner will hold an independent statutory role, proposed to be created by the Victims’ Commissioner and Sexual Violence Review Board Bill 2024 which is currently before Parliament.

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Outgoing Queensland Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Yvette D’Ath says the government has been listening to victims and their advocates.

“That’s why we created this position to focus on the needs of victims and to ensure we are providing them with the most effective support,” she says.

“Suitable candidates with experience in relevant justice, support and advocacy sectors are encouraged to consider submitting an application to further help Queenslanders recovering from acts of crime.

“I’d like to thank Mr Rouse for his work continuing as Interim Commissioner. Notably he has engaged with more than 600 victims of crime since taking the role and held eight workshops across Queensland.

“We will continue to review and improve services that help victims of crime.”

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