Victims of crime

ACT Policing supports victims of crime

Support , resources and information for victims of crime:

Being a victim of crime can often be a traumatic experience. Although people experience many common reactions to crime, everyone’s experience will be different.

The effects of crime can be immediate or may take time before they are apparent. Being informed and receiving the necessary support to deal with these effects may result in you feeling more supported and may assist your recovery.

ACT Policing has a dedicated Victims of Crime Team (ph: 02 5126 9113) who offer support to victims by providing:

Information for Victims of Crime 

If you or someone you know has been impacted by crime, it is important you are aware of what options and support are available to you. Having access to the right information and ensuring you receive the necessary support will help to assist with your recovery.

It is important that police provide you with information in a way you understand. If you do not understand what police are explaining to you, you can ask questions or request that information be provided to you in a different way. 

If you are not satisfied with the information police provide to you or you believe 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 regarding this page, 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 of crime?

You are a victim of crime if you have:

  • suffered harm during the course of an offence;
  • as a result of an offence;
  • or suffered harm as a result of witnessing an offence.

Under the Victims of Crime Act 1994 (ACT) you are referred to as a ‘primary victim’.

You are also a victim of crime if:

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

    You are not a victim of crime if you suffer harm because of an offence you have 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.

What is the 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:

  • acknowledge the central role of victims in the criminal justice process; and
  • contribute to upholding the safety, privacy and dignity of people adversely affected by crime; and
  • help victims deal with the effects of criminal offences; and
  • acknowledge, promote and uphold the rights and interests of victims in the administration of justice; and
  • 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
  • establish requirements for monitoring and reviewing victims’ rights.

Administration of Justice Processes

How do I report an offence to police?

As a victim of crime, you can report an offence to police by:

  • calling 131 444;
  • calling 000 in an emergency;
  • attending a police station and speaking with police there; or
  • reporting historical sexual offences online
  • making a report to Crime Stoppers via the online reporting form. You can remain anonymous

When a victim of crime initially reports an offence to police, our role is to obtain enough detail 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, such as 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. 

What do I do if I am a victim of family violence?

For information on family violence including understanding family violence, protection orders and support services visit ACT Policing’s Family Violence webpage.

What do I do if I am a victim of sexual assault?

For information on sexual assault, visit ACT Policing’s Sexual Assault webpage.

How do police investigations work?

Police statements

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 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.

Gathering evidence and making inquiries

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

Criminal prosecution

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

What is the process for prosecuting an alleged offender?

Decision to prosecute an alleged offender

Police make the decision to prosecute an alleged offender based on the evidence that has been gathered. If there is insufficient evidence to put an alleged offender before the Court, we will advise you of our decision and close the investigation.

Proceeding to Court

Not all investigations proceed to court. This does not mean we don’t believe you. It simply means we do not have enough evidence to meet the required level for criminal prosecution. If this happens, we will talk to you about it and explain the reasons why. If new information or evidence comes to hand, police can reactivate the investigation or update the investigation report with the new information.

Offences with time limits

It is important to understand that some offences have time limits to bring an alleged offender before the Court. We can provide you with advice about the time limits that apply to your complaint. 

Bringing an alleged offender before Court

Once police decide there is sufficient evidence to put an alleged offender before the Court, a decision will be made as to how to bring them before the Court.

Police can:

  • arrest the alleged offender and charge them with an offence;
    This may happen when police suspect an alleged offender will not appear before Court unless they are made to, or where police suspect a defendant is likely to continue offending unless arrested. Note: arrest is when police take a person into custody to the ACT Watch House (or other place) where they are charged by an ACT Policing Sergeant and either given police bail, or kept in custody and taken to Court at the next possible opportunity.

  • have the alleged 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 required to, or if they cannot be found to be given the summons, a warrant may be issued by the Court for their arrest. Once police have requested a person be summonsed to Court, it can take several weeks for that person to be given the summons and it can then take several more weeks or months before the Court date.

  • issue the alleged offender with a Court Attendance Notice (CAN);
    a CAN is a document that orders a person to attend Court on a certain date to respond to charges they are being accused of. This document can be given to a defendant by police immediately to ensure there is no chance of being unable to locate them, similar to the summons process. However, the Court date can still be several weeks or months away.

  • issue the alleged offender with a Criminal Infringement Notice (CIN);
    CINs are fines that can be issued by police for certain offences. If a defendant does not pay a fine, they may have to attend Court to resolve the matter. Offences committed against an individual cannot usually be resolved by way of CIN; 

  • issue the alleged offender with a Traffic Infringement Notice (TIN).
    If the offence committed is a traffic offence, police may issue a TIN. If a defendant does not pay a TIN, they may be required to attend Court. Sometimes defendants can be summonsed or arrested for traffic matters rather than issued a TIN.

Criminal Cautions

Police can also resolve a matter by way of criminally cautioning an alleged 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.

How does the bail process work?

Granting of bail

If a defendant is granted bail, they are released from custody on the condition they sign a document promising to attend Court on a certain date to face charges against them. They may be required to agree to certain conditions, including attending a police station on certain days of the week, or not contacting/approaching certain people or places.

If a defendant 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 a defendant, they will remain in custody and will appear before the Court at the next available opportunity; usually within one or two days. The defendant will then have an opportunity to apply to the Court for bail.

Safety considerations

If police believe a defendant should not be granted bail, we will prepare a document outlining the reasons why. Police must consider your concerns, as a victim of crime, in relation to a defendant being bailed. If you have any concerns for your safety and feel that you need protection from the defendant, you should advise police.

Bail conditions

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

Victims of crime will be advised of any relevant bail conditions, particularly in regards to family violence matters.

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. The defendant may have their bail conditions changed as a result, or the Court may order them to be taken into custody until their next Court date. If you are aware of a defendant breaching their bail conditions, you should advise police. 

Bail applications

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

How does the Court process work?

Commencing prosecution

Once police have commenced prosecution against a defendant, responsibility for prosecuting a defendant is taken over by ACT DPP. Police are responsible for collecting evidence and preparing the Court brief, but are represented by ACT DPP in the Court. 
When initially bringing a defendant before the Court, police prepare a statement of facts. This statement is a summary of the evidence that police have gathered and are able to present to the Court. 

Entering a plea

When a defendant attends Court, they are provided with the opportunity to enter a plea. They can plead guilty; meaning they agree with the statement of facts and admit they committed the offence, or they can plead not guilty; meaning they do not agree with the statement of facts and they either do not admit they committed the offence, or they want to present a defence admitting they committed the offence but that it was not their fault. If a defendant pleads guilty, the Court is responsible for deciding on the sentence. In this circumstance, you, as a victim of crime, can provide the Court with a Victim Impact Statement.
If a defendant pleads not guilty, the Court will set the matter down for hearing. Police will then prepare a full brief of evidence to go before the Court. If police have not yet taken your statement, we will request a statement from you and other witnesses to complete our brief. 


There can be a considerable time delay from when a defendant pleads not guilty to when the Court will conduct a hearing of evidence. In some cases, a hearing may occur more than a year after the initial appearance. The date of a hearing is decided by the Court and will depend on how long the hearing is expected to take and when the Court is available.

Court hearings

Most cases will be heard in the Magistrates Court. However, some serious matters will be heard in the Supreme Court. Victims of crime will be required to give evidence as part of the court case. You may need to give evidence multiple times during a Court case. You will be asked questions by ACT DPP, the defendant’s lawyer and in some cases the defendant themselves.
A matter may need to go to Court more than once and you may need to give evidence on each of these occasions. This may occur if a jury cannot decide whether a defendant is guilty or not, or if something goes wrong during the hearing and the Court decides it is not fair to continue the trial. This may also occur if a matter is appealed by ACT DPP or the defendant and must be heard at Court again.

Giving evidence in Court

Giving evidence in Court can be difficult and traumatic. To alleviate this, you may be able to give evidence from a room away from the defendant known as a ‘remote witness room’, request to have a support animal with you, or make use of several other aids or adjustment options available to victims of crime. If you believe these adjustments or aids would benefit you, you can speak to police or ACT DPP who can organise them to support you. Ultimately, the Court decides whether these aids or adjustments are possible in your case. If you would like support services before, during or after giving evidence, speak with the police officer investigating your matter who can refer you to appropriate services.

ACT DPP must inform you of all key events that take place throughout the Court process.

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.

Burden of proof

For a Court to find a defendant guilty of an offence, ACT DPP must have proved that the defendant has committed an offence and disproved any defences beyond reasonable doubt. This is called the ‘burden of proof’. To achieve this, ACT DPP will use evidence provided by police, as well as the evidence provided by witnesses (including you), in the Court room. 

Beyond a reasonable doubt does not mean beyond any doubt at all, but it is a high burden and can be difficult to achieve. A 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 ACT DPP will work with you to try to achieve the best outcome possible.


If a 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 a defendant to spend time in jail, or convict them of an offence but not spend time in jail. Being convicted of an offence means a defendant will have a criminal record that says they are found guilty of an 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 must not commit further offences and may need to comply with other conditions, otherwise there is the risk they will 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 that police and other justice agencies are required to uphold. A ‘justice agency’ is a person or organisation you are likely to come into contact with as a victim of crime, including AFP, ACT DPP, Victims of Crime Commissioner or any other organisation referenced in the legislation. 

If you feel that your rights have not been upheld, you can make a complaint to police or other government agencies. 

Respect, privacy and safety

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.

Respectful engagement with child victims

If you are a child and you are a victim of crime, or you are the parent/primary carer of a child who is a victim of crime, police must consider a child’s views, wishes and circumstances prior to communicating with the parents or primary carers of the child.

Victims representatives

As a victim of crime, 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.

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.

Minimise victims' exposure to the accused

If you are concerned and need protection from violence or harassment from a defendant, a defence witness or 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 ACT DPP will minimise your exposure to the accused and 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 relevant measures to help you feel safe.

Consider victims concerns about the need for protection in bail submissions and decisions

Police must consider your concerns, as a victim of crime, in relation to a defendant being bailed. If you have any concerns for your safety and feel that you need protection from the defendant, you should advise police.

When you report an offence

Police to give written confirmation to victims reporting offences

If you report an offence to police, we must give you written confirmation of your 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 officers will provide this information to you on a ‘job card’, which is a card that they write an incident or job number on, along with other relevant information. If requested, you may receive this information in other forms, such as via text message, email or a letter.

Police do not have to provide you with a full copy of your report – if you would like a full copy of your report, you may have to apply under the Freedom of Information Act 1982. Please refer to the Freedom of Information page on the AFP website.

Victims to be advised about administration of justice processes after an offence is reported

Police must give you information about the criminal justice processes that result from you reporting an offence to police. This information can be found under the ‘Administration of Justice Processes’ section of this webpage.

The Charter of Rights booklet for victims of crime is a useful resource for victims of crime, as it contains all the relevant information you need to know about administration of justice processes within the criminal justice system.

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 provide consent, police will usually complete a referral to an organisation called Supportlink, who will allocate your matter to an appropriate service provider. The Victims of Crime team will also contact you to offer support services appropriate to your matter. The relevant service provider will contact you directly. Police will not find out what you discuss with the service provider. 

Police may also refer you to other support services or information that may be useful to you. If you do not initially consent to support services but change your mind at any point in time, you can inform the police officer investigating your matter. It is never too late to be referred to support services.


General engagement between you and police

Victims to be updated about status of investigations, decisions and outcomes

Police must provide you with 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 an update to you would prejudice the investigation or another investigation, police may not be permitted to update you on certain parts of the investigation. However, we must tell you as much as otherwise possible.


Storage and return of victims' property

If police are holding your property for an investigation or for a Court case, we must appropriately, securely and lawfully store your property. Police must return your property to you after it is no longer needed by police. However, police will not return property 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 ACT DPP considers your appearance necessary in the interests of justice.


Provision of aids or adjustments to victims

Unless directed otherwise by the Court, justice agencies (such as police, ACT DPP and the Court) must ensure that if required, you are provided with relevant aids and adjustments to enable you to fully participate in the criminal justice process. Aids and adjustments available include but are not limited to:
  • an assistance animal;
  • intermediary;
  • support person;
  • interpreter; and
  • translator. 

If you feel that you would benefit from an aid or adjustment, you should tell police and/or the ACT 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. See ‘Restorative Justice’ section below for further information. 

Victim Impact Statements

Police must advise you within a reasonable period before you would be able to make a victim impact statement:

•    who may make a victim impact statement;
•    that a victim impact statement may be made orally or in writing;
•    what information a victim  impact  statement  must  and  may include.

Police may refer you to the section on this webpage titled ‘Victim Impact Statements’ which contains all relevant information regarding the victim impact statement process.

The Victims of Crime team can assist you with making your Victim Impact Statement and can be contacted on (ph: 02 5126 9113). Further details are available at the Victim Impact Statements section of this webpage.

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 matter, or the prosecutor from the ACT 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 Court staff.

You may also apply for financial assistance under the Victims of Crime (Financial Assistance) Act 2016 (ACT). See relevant section under ‘further information’. 

Justice agencies to tell eligible victims about victims’ register

As soon as practicable after a defendant is sentenced for an offence, you should be advised, if you are eligible, about the Victims' Register.  Police do not maintain the Victims' Register, but you can find information about it at Victims' Register - Victim Support ACT. 


Further information

Victim Impact Statements

What is a Victim Impact Statement?

When a defendant has pleaded guilty or been found guilty of an offence and the matter is listed for sentencing, you, as a victim of crime, may be asked to provide a Victim Impact Statement (VIS). 

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

A VIS is voluntary and is different to the statement you 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.

A VIS may only be made for an offence that is punishable by imprisonment for longer than a year.

Who can provide a Victim Impact Statement?

You can provide 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 a victim; or
  • a person with an intimate personal relationship to a victim. 

Where someone other than a primary victim makes a statement, the primary victim must sign to say they do not object to the VIS being made on their behalf.

How should I write my Victim Impact Statement?

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 ACT DPP. You should not talk about your opinions on the sentence you believe the defendant should be given, or use any offensive, threatening or harassing language. You should not talk about other offences you have experienced. It is best to try and focus on the impacts the offence (currently before the Court) has had on you. If ACT DPP holds concerns about anything you have written in your VIS, they will let you know. You should try to give your VIS to the ACT DPP at least one week before sentencing is due to take place 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 at any time prior to it being provided to the Court.

Who will see my Victim Impact Statement?

It is important to know that a copy of your VIS will be seen by the prosecutor, the defendant 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 a defendant is self-represented, they must seek permission from the Court to cross-examine you about your VIS.
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.

Further information on Victim Impact Statements

You can ask for help in completing your VIS. However it must be in your own words. You can seek assistance from the following people:

  • ACT DPP on 02 6207 5399;
  • ACT Policing Victim of Crime team 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

What is 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 defendant. It allows you to talk about what happened, how you (and others) have been affected, and what needs to be done to resolve the situation. Information can be exchanged directly through a face-to-face meeting or indirectly through a series of letters or messages. Some victims of crime prefer this approach as it may be resolved more quickly than through Court proceedings, and can help to resolve grievances more directly.

What is the purpose of Restorative Justice?

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 defendant to accept responsibility for what they’ve done and to repair the harm they caused; and
  • an opportunity for victims, defendants and supporters to discuss the harm caused by the offence in a carefully managed and safe environment.

How do I know if an offence could be referred for Restorative Justice?

At any stage during the administration of criminal justice for the offence, you may ask a justice agency (for example, ACT Policing or ACT DPP) whether the offence may be referred for restorative justice and, where appropriate, 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 ACT DPP may be able to assist you. Participation in RJ is voluntary and no-one can force you or the defendant to participate or continue participating.

Does Restorative Justice impact Court processes?

A defendant participating in RJ and accepting responsibility for their actions does not stop the defendant 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  and also be referred to RJ. If a defendant 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 a defendant.

Legislative Framework

For a matter to be referred to RJ, the defendant 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.

A defendant:

  • is eligible for RJ if:
  • they accept responsibility for the commission of the offence or, if they are a young defendant 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 defendant’s contrition or remorse for the offence;
  • the defendant’s personal characteristics;
  • the defendant’s motivation for taking part in RJ;
  • the impact of the offence as perceived by the defendant.

Who decides if an offence is suitable for Restorative Justice?

An offence is suitable for RJ if the director-general decides it is, with regard to various factors include the victim and defendant’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 provide 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 completes this referral via an online portal.
Information about the restorative justice processes that are available to you, including the referrals process, and the eligibility and suitability requirements for restorative justice under the Act, must be made available to you in a way that you understand.

Further information on Restorative Justice 

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

ACT Victims' Register

What is the ACT Victims’ Register?

The ACT Victims’ Register records the names and contact details of victims of crime who have asked to be registered in order to receive information about an adult offender who is subject to a custody or community order. Information held on the ACT Victims Register is confidential and will not be released to others without the consent of a registered victim.

If I am a registered victim, what information will I receive?

If you are a registered victim of a defendant 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 defendant’s parole eligibility date and earliest release date;
  • any change in the defendant’s security classification which may result in the defendant being eligible for unsupervised external leave; or
  • the correctional centre where the defendant is detained and any transfer of the defendant to another correctional centre.

Further information on the ACT Victims’ Register

ACT Corrective Services maintains the ACT Victims Register. The operation of the ACT Victims' Register is governed by the Crimes (Sentence Administration) Act 2005 (ACT).
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.

Financial Assistance

What is 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.

How do apply for financial assistance?

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

Further information on financial assistance

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


What is a victims’ rights complaint?

As a victim of crime, you may make a complaint if you believe a justice agency has not complied with your victims’ rights or are dissatisfied with the justice agency’s services in relation to victims’ rights.
Justice agencies must, as soon as practicable, tell you how you may:

  • make a justice agency complaint to the justice agency; or
  • if you believe the agency has not complied with your 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.

How can I make a complaint to the AFP?

To make a complaint to the AFP, you can:

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

How can I make a complaint to another agency about the AFP?

Victims of Crime Commissioner

Human Rights Commission

Commonwealth Ombudsman

Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity

Can I make my complaint orally or in writing?

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
  • you ask the agency to record the complaint in writing.

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

  • you (the victim); or
  • If you have nominated a representative to make the complaint – your representative.

What happens once I make my complaint?

If you make a justice agency complaint to a justice agency, the justice agency must:

  • give you 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.

How will my complaint be handled/resolved?

Once you make a complaint to the AFP, 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, Professional Standards will review the complaint, categorise it, and send it to the relevant area of the AFP for resolution.

Complaint management process

Minor complaints such as allegations of discourtesy or minor misconduct which are categorised as suitable for informal resolution will be resolved by members of AFP, usually the Inspector of the member you have complained about. For this type of complaint, the investigating member should attempt to contact you within approximately 5 business days from when you’ve made your complaint. Usually, the investigating member will conduct research into the matter and 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 have complained about. 

Resolution of a complaint

For a matter to be considered resolved by the AFP, you do not have to accept the explanations given to you – as long as the complaint investigator has made all reasonable attempts to provide adequate explanations to you.

Minor complaints not categorised as suitable for informal resolution will still be allocated to members of the AFP, 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 Professional Standards, and can take many months to resolve.

Further information about the AFP’s complaints process can be found here.

What am I required to provide when I make a complaint?

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

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. 

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 
Easy English documents are available on Family Violence, How to stay safe from Family Violence, Family Violence Orders and going to Court.
(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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