About 10,000 Victorians swarmed to the steps of the State’s Parliament House recently to protest against what they labelled the “lenient” sentencing in the well publicised Sims case as well as a paedophile case. But members of the group of protesters were also angered by the absence of a “victim representative” in the newly formed independent Sentencing Advisory Council.
Fired up by the Crime Victims Support Association (CVSA), members of the public claimed what has been termed the A-G’s bid to placate them over lenient sentencing does not include representation for the victims of crimes.
The CVSA was angered by what it called a lack of victims on the Council. Not one member, according to CVSA’s president Noel McNamara, “would qualify for the status of a victim”.
But last week one member of the Council dropped from the ranks and the Government now intends to place what it calls a victim representative in the person’s place, the Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) told Lawyers Weekly.
McNamara said he thought it strange that someone had dropped off the Council, but supported the idea of a victim taking that place. The A-G is beginning to think it is a good idea that a victim is on board, McNamara said. “Maybe it’s got something to do with the 10,000 people outside Parliament recently,” he said.
The LIV has stood up to the accusations against the appointments, claiming the Council is a good one. LIV president Chris Dale said the Council has the ability to “tap into the community”. “It’s a very balanced committee and those people involved in the Council certainly can weigh up all sorts of considerations as well as those of victims,” Dale said.