Policy change in the world of the silent victim

Ms Katalin Kraszlan1

1Department Of Justice, Perth , Australia

Victim voices are not the loudest and their history of exclusion from decision making in the criminal justice system has continually placed them at the periphery of the system and our ongoing failure to acknowledge the person to whom the harm was done indicates that the criminal justice system still has a significant way to go. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse highlighted the long term impact of failing to acknowledge victims and survivors and the work needed to provide ongoing support and intervention. But victim voices are not only quiet in the criminal justice system they are the also quiet in research, there is little evidence based victim policy. We have little or no understanding of many of the issues surrounding victims and currently the system often perceives them as being on a continuum from no harm to significant harm with harm being directly related to the significance or extent of the original offending. The issues of trauma, participation and outcome are also seen as mutually exclusive and lead to little or no continuous improvement.  This paper will discuss the experiences of being the Commissioner for Victims of Crime and how the lack of information and research impacts on the ability to assist victims and provide advice on how the system can be improved and that this results in policy decisions and policy change being based on the narrative of an individual victim or victims rather than from an evidence based perspective.


Biography:

Kati Kraszlan is currently the Acting Commissioner for Victims in Western Australia. She commenced in the position in October 2017. The Commissioner advocates to Government for ongoing improvement in victim of crime legislation, policies and services in Western Australia. Prior to this position Kati has had an extensive career in the Justice and Community sectors working across various research and policy positions. She has worked in the office of Inspector of Custodial Services and was also responsible for developing the award winning West Kimberley Regional Prison, the first purpose built prison for Aboriginal People in Australia.