Victims of crime

It can often be a traumatic experience being a victim of crime. Although we experience many common reactions to crime, everyone’s experience will differ.

The effects of crime can be immediate or can take time before they become apparent. Being informed and getting help to deal with these effects may mean that you will feel more supported and may assist your recovery.

ACT Policing has a dedicated Victims of Crime Team who offer support to victims by providing:

  • access to counselling and support services
  • assistance with Victim Impact Statements
  • information on financial assistance
  • available information and support around the court process
  • updates on court matters.

Information for Victims of Crime 

If you, or someone you know have been affected by a crime it is important to know what options are available to you. The impacts of crime can be immediate or can take time but getting help to deal with these effects may assist your recovery.

It is important that police give you information in a way that you understand.  If you do not understand what they are telling you, you can ask questions or ask them to tell you in a different way.  If you are not satisfied with the information police provide or believe that your rights have not been respected by police, you have the right to raise your concerns with the police or another government agency. 

If you have any questions reading this document, contact the police officer you have been dealing with to seek clarification or the ACT Policing Victims of Crime Team on 02 5126 9113.

Who is a victim?

If you have suffered harm during the course, or as a result of an offence, or suffered harm as a result of witnessing an offence, then you are a victim.  In legislation you are referred to as the ‘primary victim’. 

You are also a victim if:

  • You are a family member of the primary victim and suffer harm because of the harm caused to them;
  • You are financially or psychologically dependent on the primary victim and suffer harm because of the harm caused to the primary victim;
  • You are the guardian for a child or legally incompetent person who has been harmed because of an offence.

You are not a victim if you suffer harm because of an offence you committed or were alleged to have committed.

What is harm?

Harm can be defined as one or more of the following:

  • Physical injury;
  • Mental injury or emotional suffering (including grief);
  • Pregnancy as a result of sexual assault;
  • Economic loss;
  • Substantial impairment of a person’s legal rights.

Legal framework

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) work with victims within the framework of the Victims of Crime Act 1994 (ACT). 

The objects of this Act are to:

(a) acknowledge the central role of victims in the criminal justice process; and

(b) contribute to upholding the safety, privacy and dignity of people adversely affected by crime; and

(c) help victims deal with the effects of criminal offences; and

(d) acknowledge, promote and uphold the rights and interests of victims in the administration of justice; and

(e) recognise and establish appropriate ways for agencies involved in the administration of justice to engage with victims in order to minimise adverse outcomes and prevent trauma for victims; and

(f) establish requirements for monitoring and reviewing victims’ rights.

Administration of Justice Processes

Reporting an offence to police

You can report an offence to police by:

When an offence is initially reported to police, their role is to obtain enough details from you to determine the initial course of action, especially in relation to your safety.

When you contact police, we will talk you through what is involved in an investigation, including alternative options, like making an information report.

An information report is for recording purposes only. Police will not investigate the incident but may use the information for intelligence purposes. 

Police investigations

When police undertake an investigation, you may be asked to provide a statement. Police need your consent, or the consent of your legal guardian, to take your statement. Your statement may be taken in a written format, or  it may be recorded in an audio or video format. 

During your statement you will be asked to state that you are prepared to provide the same information to a court as a witness, and that the statements you have made are true to the best of your knowledge and belief. 

It is an offence to state something to police that you know to be false or do not believe to be true.

As a part of an investigation police may conduct inquires with other witnesses and gather evidence from a wide range of sources.  The purpose of this investigation is to establish if there is sufficient evidence to bring an offender before the court.  

If police believe that the offender (known as the defendant or the accused once court processes have commenced) committed the offence and there are no other reasonable explanations, police may commence a criminal prosecution.  In addition, police must be satisfied that that the evidence negates any claims by the offender that would lawfully excuse the offender from their actions (such as defences). 

Police decision to prosecute an offender

The police make the decision to prosecute an offender based on the evidence they have gathered. If there is insufficient evidence to put an offender before the court, police will advise you of their decision and close the investigation.

If new information or evidence comes to hand police can reactivate the investigation or update the investigation report with the new information. It is important to know that some offences have time limits to bring the offender before the court. Police can provide you with advice about the time limits that apply to your complaint. 

Once police decide there is sufficient evidence to put an offender before the court they will decide how to bring them before the court.

Police can:

  • arrest a person and charge them with the offence;
    • This may happen where police suspect the offender will not appear before court unless they’re made to, or where police suspect the offender is likely to continue offending unless arrested. Arrest means police take the person into custody and take them to the ACT Watch House or other place where they are charged by a Sergeant and then either given police bail, or kept in custody and taken to court at the next possible opportunity.
  • have the offender summonsed to appear before court;
    • A summons is a document that orders a person to go to court on a certain date to respond to the charges they are being accused of. If the person doesn’t go to court when they are meant to, or if they can’t be found to be given the summons, a warrant might be issued by the court for their arrest. Once the police have requested a person be summonsed to court, it can take a few weeks for that person to be given the summons, and it can then take a few more weeks or months before the court date.
  • issue the offender with a Court Attendance Notice (CAN);
    • a CAN is a document that orders a person to go to court on a certain date to respond to the charges they are being accused of. This document can be given to an offender by police straight away to ensure there is no chance of not being able to find them like with a summons, but the court date can still be weeks or months away.
  • issue the offender with a  Criminal Infringement Notice (CIN);
    • CINs are fines that can be issued by police for certain offences. If the offender does not pay the fine, they may have to go to court to resolve the matter. Offences committed against an individual can usually not be resolved by way of CIN; or
  • issue the offender with a Traffic Infringement Notice (TIN).
    • If the offence committed is a traffic offence, police may issue a TIN. If the offender does not pay the TIN, they may be required to attend court. Sometimes offenders can be summonsed or arrested for traffic matters rather than issued a TIN.

Police can also resolve a matter by way of criminally cautioning the offender. A criminal caution is an appropriate alternative to criminally charging a person for an offence in certain circumstances, including where:

  • the alleged offender has not previously been charged with an offence;
  • the circumstances of the incident are considered suitable for resolving without referring charges to the ACT Law Courts;
  • other support processes and mechanisms, such as family support, in combination with a police caution, are identified as appropriate in addressing any criminal conduct.

An alternative method of dealing with the complaint is through Restorative Justice which is discussed later in this page.  

Bail and bail applications

If a person is granted bail, that means they are released from custody on the condition they sign a document promising to go to court on a certain date to face the charges against them. They may have to agree to certain conditions such as going to a police station on certain days of the week, or not contacting/approaching certain people or places.

If an offender is arrested by police they may be bailed at the ACT Watch House until their scheduled court appearance date, which may be weeks or months in the future.  If police do not bail an offender they will remain in custody and will appear before the court at the next available opportunity, which is usually within one or two days.  The offender will then have the opportunity to apply to the courts for bail.

If police believe the defendant should not be granted bail they will prepare a document outlining their reasons.  Police must obtain your concerns in relation to the offender being bailed. If you have any concerns for your safety and feel that you need protection from the offender, you should tell police.

A lawyer from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), known as the prosecutor, will present the courts with the police arguments. The court will then decide if bail is appropriate and what conditions the defendant should comply with whilst on bail. 

If a defendant disobeys the conditions of the orders made by police or the court then the defendant may be arrested and put before the court again. They may have their bail conditions changed after this happens, or the court might order them to be taken into custody until their next court date. If you are aware of an offender breaching their bail conditions you should tell the police. 

The defendant retains the right to be able to apply for bail if they remain in custody.  Police or the DPP must tell you of any subsequent bail applications by the defendant and the result of those applications.  Police and the DPP should ensure that your concerns relating to the defendant are expressed to the courts in any bail applications.  

The court process

Once police have commenced a prosecution against a defendant, responsibility for prosecuting the defendant is taken over by the DPP.  Police are responsible for collecting evidence and preparing the court brief but are represented by the DPP in the courts. 

When initially bringing a defendant before the court police prepare a statement of facts. This statement is a summary of the evidence that the police have gathered and are able to present to the courts. 

When the defendant attends court they are provided the opportunity to enter a plea. They can plead guilty, which means they agree with the statement of facts and admit they committed the offence, or they can plead not guilty, which means they don’t agree with the statement of facts and they either don’t admit they committed the offence or they want to present a defence admitting they committed the offence but it wasn’t their fault.  If the defendant pleads guilty the court is responsible for deciding what the sentence may be.  In this circumstance you can provide the court with a Victim Impact Statement (these are discussed in more detail later).

If a defendant pleads not guilty the courts will set the matter down for hearing.  Police will then prepare a full brief of evidence to go before the courts.  If police have not yet taken your statement they will request a statement from you to complete the brief. 

There can be a considerable time delay from when the defendant pleads not guilty to when the courts will conduct a hearing of the evidence. In some cases a hearing may occur more than a year after the initial appearance. The date of the hearing is decided by the courts depending on how long the hearing is expected to go for and when the court will be available for that length of time.

Most cases will be heard in the Magistrates Court, but some serious matters will be heard in the Supreme Court. You might need to give evidence multiple times during a court case, and you will be asked questions by the DPP and by the offender’s lawyer, or the offender themselves sometimes. 

In some cases, a matter might need to go to court more than once, and you might need to give evidence on each of these occasions. This happens when a jury can’t decide whether an offender is guilty or not, or sometimes when something goes wrong during the court hearing and the court decides it wouldn’t be fair to keep that trial going. This can also happen if a matter is appealed by the DPP or the defendant, and needs to go back to court to be heard again.

Giving evidence in court can be difficult or traumatic for some victims, especially if you need to do it more than once. There are some things that can be done to try to make the experience less difficult or traumatic, including ensuring you give evidence from a different room to the one the offender is in, or having screens up if you’re in the same room so you can’t see the offender. You can also ask to have a support animal with you, or make use of several other aids or adjustment options. If you would like any of these, speak to the police or the DPP who can try to organise this. Ultimately, the courts decide whether any of these types of assistance will be possible in your case. If you would like support services before, during or after giving evidence, speak with the police investigator in your case who can refer you to appropriate services.

Throughout the process police and the DPP must inform you of the key events as outlined later on this page.

At the conclusion of the hearing the court will determine if the evidence presented to the court is sufficient to find the defendant guilty of the offence.

For a court to find a person guilty of an offence, the DPP must have proved that the defendant committed the offence and disproved any defences beyond reasonable doubt. This is called the burden of proof. To do this, the DPP will use the evidence provided by police, as well as the evidence provided by witnesses, including you, in the court room. Beyond reasonable doubt does not mean beyond any doubt at all, but it is a high burden and can be difficult to achieve. The defendant only needs to prove any defences on the balance of probabilities, which means the court needs to believe it is more likely than not that the defence is legitimate. The police and DPP will work with you to try to achieve the best outcome possible.

 If the defendant is found guilty the court will then determine an appropriate penalty.  You will have an opportunity to provide the court with a Victim Impact Statement, which the court may take into account in sentencing.

The court might order that the defendant needs to spend time in jail, or that they should be convicted of the offence but not have to spend any time in jail. Being convicted of an offence means the person will have a criminal record that they were found guilty of the offence. Sometimes a court can order that a person is convicted but that the conviction should not be recorded on the person’s criminal record. The court can also choose to order the defendant to pay a fine, or release them on a Good Behaviour Order or an Intensive Correction Order, both of which mean the person needs to not commit further offences and may need to comply with other conditions or they may be sent to prison. The court may also order a combination of the above.

Your rights as a victim

The Victims of Crime Act 1994 (ACT) was amended by the Victims Rights Legislation Amendment Act 2020 (ACT) and, from 1 January 2021, provides you with several legislated rights police and other justice agencies are required to comply with. A justice agency is a person or organisation you are likely to come into contact with as a victim of crime, including police, the DPP, the Victims of Crime Commissioner or any other organisation named in legislation. 

If you feel that your rights haven’t been complied with, you can make a complaint to police or other government agencies. This will be explained further later on.

Police to give written confirmation to victims reporting offences

If you report an offence to police, they must give you written confirmation of the report which includes the name of the police officer who took the report and the name of another officer who you may contact about the report. If giving you written confirmation of the report would place your safety or another person’s safety at risk, police are not required give the written confirmation to you. Most police will give you this information on a ‘job card’, which is a white card they will write an incident or job number on, along with other information. You may receive this information in other forms, like via text message, email or letter instead.

Police do not have to provide you with a full copy of your report – to get this, you may have to apply under the Freedom of Information Act 1982, which you can do on the AFP website at Freedom of information | Australian Federal Police (

Police to tell victims about administration of justice processes after offence reported

Police must give you information about administration of justice processes that result from reporting the offence to police. This information can be found earlier on under the ‘Administration of Justice Processes’ heading.

Referral of victims to support services

With your consent police must refer you to a service that provides support or assistance suitable for you and your circumstances. Police should offer you support services appropriate for your matter. If you accept, police will usually complete a referral to an organisation called Supportlink, who will then allocate your matter to an appropriate service provider. That service provider will contact you directly. Police do not find out what you talk about with that service provider. Police may also refer you to other support services or information that may be useful to you. If you say no to support services but change your mind, just let the police officer investigating your matter know. It’s never too late to be referred to support services.

Police to update victims about status of investigations

Police must provide you an update about any changes to the status of an investigation such as making an arrest or making a decision not to continue the investigation. Police must update you about the progress of the investigation at least every six weeks. However, you can agree to be contacted less frequently. If this happens, police will only contact you as agreed.   

If providing the update to you would prejudice the investigation or another investigation, the police might not be allowed to tell you certain things. However, they must tell you as much as they can.     

Respectful engagement with victims

Police must engage with you in a respectful manner and have regard to your personal situation, concerns, rights and dignity.  Police must consider your needs, including your age, disability, gender identity, race, religion, sex, sexuality and parental, family, carer or kinship responsibilities.

Victims' representatives

You may nominate in writing a person to be your representative to:

  • exercise some or all of your rights on your behalf;
  • receive some or all of the information required to be given to you as a victim;
  • make a complaint to the police, raise a victims' rights concern or make a victims' rights complaint.

Respectful engagement with child victims

If the primary victim is a child, police must consider the child’s views, wishes and circumstances prior to communicating with the parents or primary carers.  

Victims’ privacy

Police must not disclose your personal information or a family members’ information unless the information is disclosed:

  • during a court matter;
  • under a law; and/or
  • with your consent.

Personal information about a person includes:

  • a person’s home address and contact details;
  • any employment details;
  • the name of the school, college or other educational institution in the ACT that the person is attending, if a student.

Storage and return of victims' property

If police are holding your property for an investigation or for a court case the property must be stored and handled in an appropriate manner that is lawful, respectful and secure.  Police must return the property to you after it is no longer needed by police, however, police will not return property to you that is unlawful for you to possess. 

Victims’ appearance at preliminary or committal hearings

You are not required to appear at a preliminary or committal hearing unless the court directs you to attend or the DPP considers your appearance necessary in the interests of justice.

Minimising victims’ exposure to the accused

If you are concerned and need protection from violence or harassment from the defendant, a defence witness or a family member of the defendant or any person supporting the defendant you must tell the prosecutor or court staff of your concerns. 

Where practicable the court or DPP will minimise your exposure to the accused or other parties while in the court or tribunal building.  This could include giving evidence through an audio visual link, the use of screens or taking other measures. 

Provision of aids or adjustments to victims

Unless directed otherwise by the court, justice agencies must ensure that if required, you are provided with an assistance animal, intermediary or support person, interpreter or translator and any aid or adjustment to enable you to fully participate in the court process. If you feel that you would benefit from an aid or adjustment, you should tell police and/or the DPP.

Victims may request referral of offences to restorative justice

At any stage of the criminal justice process you may ask police to refer an offence for restorative justice.  Restorative justice will be covered later on.

Justice agencies to tell eligible victims about victims’ register

As soon as practicable after an offender is sentenced for an offence you should be told, if you are eligible, about the Victims' Register.  The Victims' Register is discussed later in this document. Police do not maintain the Victims' Register, but you can find information about it at Victims' Register - Victim Support ACT.

Reimbursement and financial assistance for victims

If you suffer a loss or incur expenses as a direct result of an offence you can ask the prosecutor to apply for a reparation order under the Crimes (Sentencing) Act 2005 (ACT).  This is an order requiring the defendant to compensate you for your financial loss or expenses.  You can discuss this issue with the police officer who investigated your complaint, or the prosecutor from the DPP handling the matter.

If you give evidence as a witness in a criminal proceeding, you may be able to claim reimbursement of expenses incurred or income lost in attending court.  You will need to complete the relevant form with the courts and be able to provide the necessary documents to support your application.  You can discuss your claim with the investigating officer or the court staff.

You may also apply for financial assistance under the Victims of Crime (Financial Assistance) Act 2016 (ACT). 

Further information

Victim Impact Statements

When a defendant has pleaded guilty or been found guilty of an offence and the matter is listed for sentencing, you may be asked to provide a Victim Impact Statement (VIS). A VIS may only be made for an offence that is punishable by imprisonment for longer than a year.

You can give a VIS if you are a victim of the offence, a person who has parental responsibility for a victim of the offence, a close family member of a victim, a carer for the victim, or a person with an intimate personal relationship to the victim. Where someone other than the primary victim makes the statement, the victim must sign to say they do not object to the VIS being made on their behalf.

A VIS gives you or someone close to you the opportunity to participate in the criminal justice process during sentencing by informing the court and the offender about how the crime has affected you. The court will take your VIS into account when determining the offender's sentence.

A VIS can be read out loud in the court room if you would like it to be. You can do this yourself or the prosecutor or another person you choose can read it for you. If you don’t want it to be read aloud, the written version can be handed to the Magistrate or Judge.

A VIS is voluntary and is different to the statement you may have already provided to police about what happened, as you only write about the harm you have suffered as a result of the offence. You may wish to tell the court about how your life has changed because of the crime.

You should not include a detailed description of the offence, as the court will already be aware of what happened through the evidence given by police to the DPP. You should not talk about your opinions on the sentence the offender should get, or use any offensive, threatening or harassing language. You should not talk about other offences you have experienced – try to focus on the impacts the offence that’s currently before the court has had on you. If the DPP is concerned about anything you have written in your VIS, they will let you know. You should try to give your VIS to the DPP at least one week before sentencing is due to happen at court.

Your VIS can be as long or as short as you would like, and you can write it in whichever format you choose. You can add to, change or withdraw your VIS any time you like prior to it being given to the court.

You should know that a copy of your VIS will be seen by the prosecutor, the offender and their lawyer (if they have one) as well as the Magistrate or Judge. It is important to note that you may be cross-examined on your VIS. Where an offender is self-represented, they must seek permission from the court to cross-examine you about your VIS.

You can ask for help in completing your VIS, though in the end it has to be in your own words. You can talk to the following people for assistance:

  • ACT DPP on 02 6207 5399;
  • ACT Policing Victim Liaison Officers on 02 5126 9113;
  • Victim Support ACT on 1800 822 272;
  • Domestic Violence Crisis Service on 02 6280 0900;
  • Canberra Rape Crisis Centre on 02 6247 2525.

The VIS form and further information is available on The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions website.

Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice (RJ) is an alternative form of justice, involving an exchange of information between the people most affected by an offence - you and the offender. It allows you to talk about what happened, how you and others were affected, and what needs to be done to repair the situation. Information can be exchanged directly through a face-to-face meeting or indirectly through a series of letters or messages. Some victims prefer this approach as it may be resolved faster than the court proceedings, and help to resolve grievances more directly.

The ACT Restorative Justice Unit’s (RJU) primary objective is to provide RJ to members of the community who have been affected by an offence in a forum that may provide:

  • an opportunity to talk about how an offence has affected you and those close to you;
  • an opportunity to address any unresolved questions, issues and emotions experienced by you or those close to you;
  • an opportunity for the offender to accept responsibility for what they’ve done and to repair the harm they caused; and
  • an opportunity for victims, offenders and supporters to discuss the harm caused by the offence in a carefully managed and safe environment.

At any stage during the administration of criminal justice for the offence, you may ask a justice agency whether the offence may be referred for restorative justice, and also ask a referring entity for that stage of the process to refer the offence for restorative justice.

Police can only refer a matter to RJ prior to the court process commencing. However, if you would like the matter referred to RJ once the court process has commenced, the DPP may be able to assist you. Participation in RJ is voluntary and no-one can force you or the offender to participate or to continue participating.

Participating in RJ and accepting responsibility for their actions does not stop the offender from entering a plea of not guilty in court proceedings.

Some matters that are referred to RJ will not go to court, while other matters will go to court as well as being referred to RJ. If an offender does not participate properly in RJ, the matter will not be considered to have been successfully resolved and will likely progress to court. The matter can also go to RJ after the court has sentenced the offender.

For a matter to be referred to RJ the offender and the victim (you) must be eligible and suitable and the offence must be suitable.

Under the Crimes (Restorative Justice) Act 2004 (ACT):

  • A victim:
    • is eligible for RJ if they are at least 10 years old or, if they are under 10 years old, an immediate family member who is over 10 years of age can participate on their behalf;
    • is suitable if the director-general decides they are suitable with regard to:
      • the victim’s personal characteristics;
      • the victim’s motivation for taking part in RJ;
      • the impact of the offence as perceived by the victim.
  • An offender:
    • is eligible for RJ if:
      • they accept responsibility for the commission of the offence or, if they are a young offender and the offence is a less serious offence, they do not deny responsibility for the commission of the offence; and
      • they were at least 10 years old when the offence was allegedly committed; and
      • they agree to take part in RJ.
    • is suitable if the director-general decides they are suitable with regard to:
      • the extent (if any) of the offender’s contrition or remorse for the offence;
      • the offender’s personal characteristics;
      • the offender’s motivation for taking part in RJ;
      • the impact of the offence as perceived by the offender.
  • An offence is suitable for RJ if the director-general decides it is, with regard to various factors include the victim and offender’s suitability and eligibility and general considerations around the nature of the offence and the appropriateness of RJ.

To refer a matter to RJ, police must give a referral to the director-general of restorative justice. The referral has to be in writing and must state the reasons for the referral. ACT Policing complete this referral via an online portal.

Information about the restorative justice processes that are available to you, including the referrals process, and that there are eligibility and suitability requirements for restorative justice under the Act, must be made available to you in a way that you understand. This information can be found above.

Further information about RJ and the RJU can be accessed by:

Financial Assistance

If you are the victim of a violent crime or are a related victim to a primary victim who dies as a result of their injury, you may be eligible for Victim Support ACT's Financial Assistance Scheme.

Compensation can be claimed within the brief of evidence that the police prepare for the DPP and the court. You should inform the investigating officer if you wish this to happen.

Applications for financial assistance are made to Victim Support ACT. The Victims of Crime Commissioner is the decision maker for applications in accordance with the Victims of Crime (Financial Assistance) Act 2016 (ACT). You may request support to make an application from Victim Support ACT.

For more information visit the Financial Assistance Scheme webpage on the Victim Support ACT website.

ACT Victims' Register

ACT Corrective Services maintains the ACT Victims Register

Victims who have registered are able to receive timely, relevant and accurate information about an offender’s incarceration and in the case of an offender released on a community based order, the management of the offender’s sentence. The operation of the ACT Victims' Register is governed by the Crimes (Sentence Administration) Act 2005 (ACT).

If you are a registered victim of an offender who is serving a term of imprisonment, you may be informed by ACT Corrective Services of information such as the following:

  • the length of the sentence, the offender’s parole eligibility date and earliest release date;
  • any change in the offender’s security classification which may result in the offender being eligible for unsupervised external leave; or
  • the correctional centre where the offender is detained and any transfer of the offender to another correctional centre.

Police are not obligated to provide information about the Victims' Register to you, and they are not able to provide updates to you regarding parole or any of the other above information.


Victims of crime may make a complaint if they believe the justice agency has not complied with the victims’ rights or are dissatisfied with the justice agency’s services in relation to victims’ rights.

The justice agency must, as soon as practicable, tell the victim how the victim may:

  • make a justice agency complaint to the justice agency; or
  • if the victim believes the agency has not complied with their victims' rights – raise a victims' rights concern to the commissioner or make a victims' rights complaint to the human rights commission; or
  • if another entity has power to deal with the matter – make a complaint about the matter to the other entity.

To make a complaint to ACT Policing, you can:

  • Visit your nearest police station and speak with an officer in person;
  • Complete an online form at Feedback and complaints | Australian Federal Police (; or
  • Contact AFP Professional Standards (PRS):
    • Phone: 02 5127 2020
    • Mail: Professional Standards Operations Monitoring Centre, PO Box 401, Canberra City ACT 2601.

To make a complaint to the Victims of Crime Commissioner, you can:

To make a complaint to the Human Rights Commission, you can:

To make a complaint to the Commonwealth Ombudsman, you can:

To make a complaint regarding corruption to the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) you can:

A complaint may be made orally or in writing

A justice agency must record an oral complaint in writing if;

  • the justice agency considers the complaint is of a sufficiently serious nature to be recorded in writing; or
  • the victim asks the agency to record the complaint in writing.

A justice agency complaint may be withdrawn at any time by;

  • the victim; or
  • If the victim has nominated a representative to make the complaint – the victim’s representative.

If a victim makes a justice agency complaint to a justice agency, the justice agency must:

  • give the victim information about the process that will be used for resolving the complaint – which can be found below; and
  • take all reasonable steps to resolve the complaint as soon as practicable.

Once you make a complaint to ACT Policing, it will be dealt with under the Australian Federal Police Act 1979 (Cth) and various internal governance.

Most of the time, once a complaint is made to the AFP, PRS will review the complaint, categorise it, and send it to the relevant area of the AFP for resolution.

Minor complaints such as allegations of discourtesy or minor misconduct which are categorised as suitable for informal resolution will be resolved by members of ACT Policing, usually the Inspector of the member you’re complaining about. For these types of complaints, the investigating member should attempt to contact you within about two weeks from when you’ve made your complaint. Usually the investigating member will do some research into the matter and then contact you to attempt to resolve the complaint through explaining any misunderstandings about the law or police practice, or by bringing your concerns to the attention of the member you’re complaining about. You don’t have to accept the explanations given to you in order for the matter to be resolved, as long as the investigating member has made all reasonable attempts to provide adequate explanations to you.

Minor complaints which are not categorised as suitable for informal resolution will still be allocated to members of ACT Policing, but may take longer to investigate and resolve, sometimes up to several months.

Complaints of serious misconduct or neglect of duty will be investigated by PRS themselves, and can take many months to resolve.

Further information about the AFP’s complaints process can be found on the website at Feedback and complaints | Australian Federal Police ( or at Complaints and compliments | Australian Capital Territory Policing (

If you make a complaint, you must give the justice agency any documentation or information that you can provide and which is reasonably required by the justice agency to resolve the complaint.

Victims of family violence

For information on family violence including understanding family violence, protection orders and support services visit the Family Violence section of this website.

ACT Policing contact information

In a life threatening situation you can call the emergency number on Triple Zero (000).

For police assistance in the ACT, you can call police 24 hours seven days a week, on 131 444. Alternatively, you can attend the police station nearest to you. You can find details of the police stations in the ACT on the ACT Policing website at Connect with us | Australian Capital Territory Policing (

Support services

Service Contact number
Survivors and Mates Support Network (SAMSN)

1800 472 676

Lifeline 131 114
Blue Knot Helpline (Supporting adult survivors of childhood trauma and abuse) 1300 657 380
Victim Support ACT 1800 822 272 or 02 6205 2066
Domestic Violence Crisis Service (02) 6280 0900 or 0408 006 616 (Court Support – Court Advocacy Program)
Legal Aid ACT 1300 654 314
Every Man (02) 6230 6999
Menslink (02) 6287 2226
Mensline Australia 1300 789 978
Women's Legal Centre  (02) 6257 4377
Communities at Work (Community Pantry/Side by Side – Volunteers Assisting Victims of Crime) (02) 6293 6500
Relationships Australia 1300 364 277
Catholic Care Canberra & Goulburn – Red Hill Office (02) 6162 6100
Canberra Rape Crisis Centre (02) 6247 2525
Service Assisting Male Survivors of Sexual Assault (SAMSSA) (02) 6287 3935


ACT Policing Online News

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