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What is the Specialist Victims Register?



Am I eligible to register?

The Specialist Victims Support Service (our team) maintains a list of victims of forensic patients on behalf of the Commissioner of Victims Rights. It is called the Specialist Victims Register (the Register). The Register only contains the names of people who have requested to be on the Register and who are eligible. If you are listed on the Register (registered victim), we will include the following information under your name:

  • The name of the forensic patient who committed the act of violence (this includes sexual assault),
  • The information that has been used to verify your identity as a victim of the forensic patient (for example, the police event number),
  • Whether you have made a victim impact statement to the court,
  • Whether you have requested (or  will be requesting) the Mental Health Review Tribunal (the Tribunal) to impose  a non-association condition or place restriction condition on the forensic patient, and
  • Any dates that may be sensitive or distressing for you (for example, the date of the act of violence), so that hearings are not scheduled on these dates.

The Register ensures that victims of forensic patients are informed when certain decisions are made (for example, when the forensic patient is transferred from one facility to another, or when they are granted leave or release). If you are a registered victim, you have the right to be told when these things happen.

We will protect your privacy

Our team understands that you may be concerned about people (like the forensic patient or the Tribunal) accessing your private information. No one will have access to your information in the Register without your consent.

If a registered victim consents, we may provide details contained in the Register to the Tribunal. Nobody (including you or your advocate) is allowed to publish information contained in the Register unless the Tribunal or court has given permission.

To protect your privacy, the Commissioner of Victims Rights' function is also exempt from all requests for information under section 9(1) of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009, where that information is about a victim on the Register. This means that if the forensic patient requests information under the Act, the Commissioner will not be required to provide them with your confidential information.

You can register on the Specialist Victims Register if you are a:

  • Victim of an act of violence committed by a forensic patient who has been found not guilty by reason of mental illness or unfit to stand trial with a limiting term imposed, OR
  • Family victim, where the victim has died as a result of the act of violence.

You are a family victim if the victim has died as a result of the act of violence and you are:

  • The victim's spouse,

  • The victim's de facto spouse, or same sex partner who has lived with the victim for at least two years,

  • A parent, step-parent or guardian of the victim
     
  • A child or step-child of the victim, or other child that the victim was guardian of, or

  • A brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, step-brother or step-sister of the victim.

What information can I receive if I am a registered victim?

If you are a registered victim, our team can tell you if:

  • the forensic patient is due for a mandatory Tribunal hearing,
  • an application is made for a review of the forensic patient (outside of the regular mandatory hearings),
  • the Tribunal makes or changes an order granting the forensic patient leave or release,
  • the Tribunal makes an order to apprehend and detain a forensic patient who has breached their leave or release conditions,
  • the forensic patient appeals against the Tribunal's decision, or
  • the forensic patient is no longer a forensic patient.

You also have the right to be told about:

  • the orders that the forensic patient (or their treating team) is seeking at a Tribunal hearing,
  • the location of a Tribunal hearing,
  • the outcome of a Tribunal review hearing,
  • the Tribunal's general reasons for any decision about leave or release, and
  • any known safety concerns that may affect you, in relation to a Tribunal hearing or the breach of an order by the forensic patient.

How and when will I receive this information?

If you are a registered victim, our team will provide the information you have requested to receive in writing, which means it could be delivered:

  • in person,
  • by post to a postal address you provided us,
  • by post to your residential address /business address (if you have not provided a different postal address), or
  • by email.

However, in the rare case that there is a risk of immediate harm to you or another person, we will inform you by telephone first if you have provided us with your phone number (and then again in writing).

When you register as a victim, you can choose your level of contact with our team and let us know how you would like to receive information. For example, if you would prefer to be contacted by phone, we will notify you by phone before providing you with information in writing. You can also change your preferences and your level of involvement at any time by advising our team.

How do I register?

If you would like to register, you will need to complete a Specialist Victims Register registration form. 

Specialist Victims Register registration form - Fillable (123Kb)
Specialist Victims Register registration form - Print (123Kb)

You will need the following information when you register:

  • a current Australian drivers licence, passport or birth certificate,
  • the name of the forensic patient, and
  • at least one of the following documents, which allows our team to verify that you are a victim:
    • the case number of the Director of Public Prosecutions (for each offence committed by the forensic patient),
    • the hearing number for the Tribunal,
    • the police event number (for each offence committed by the forensic patient), or
    • the claim number for any assistance claimed under the Victims Support Scheme.

We will inform you in writing once you have been successfully registered.

Can I be removed from the Register?

You will be removed from the Register if:

  • the forensic patient is no longer a forensic patient (for reasons related to the offence),
  • all limiting terms related to the offence have expired,
  • an extension order is in force (which extends the person's status as a forensic patient), or
  • you request for your name to be removed. 

If the forensic patient remains a forensic patient, for reasons unrelated to the offence, you will no longer be a registered victim. However, you can contact our team for more information about hearings after you have been removed from the Register.