The findings in this review and from what victims have reported, it is evident that there needs to be a change in culture rather than a change in policy to close the gap between what agencies are saying and what victims are experiencing. Agencies need to find a way of creating and embedding a ‘culture of empathy’ which ensures policies and procedures are delivered in a way which treats victims with kindness, patience and respect.

This information is out as a set of standards which will help agencies review and develop their practice. Agencies and service providers meeting these standards are more likely to be fulfilling their duties to victims under the Victims’ Code in a way which is meaningful to victims.

Victims’ Commissioner’s Standards:

Victims should receive under the Victims’ Code:

  • clear information from agencies and service providers on how they will support them in raising a concern or making a complaint about the service they have received;
  • information on how informal concerns can be submitted and dealt with, in additional to processes for the submitting of formal complaints;
  • details on how agencies and service providers will keep victims informed of the progress of their complaint at all stages;
  • the option to state their preferred method of communication with an agency or service provider when raising a concern or making a complaint;
  • clear information to understand what to do if not happy with the response that has been received, including details about the role of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and the right to complain to them; and,
  • information on how they might be able to be involved in developing, reviewing and improving an agency’s or service provider’s complaints process.

Agencies and service providers should ensure they offer to all victims:

  • a clear statement about the support they will provide to victims who wish to raise a concern or make a complaint about the service that has been provided;
  • processes to deal with concerns swiftly and informally where appropriate, in addition to processes to deal with more formal complaints;
  • a commitment that they will deliver mandatory training and development plans for all staff who deal with victims’ complaints;
  • a commitment to ensure that all staff who interact with victims, have in place a performance objective reflecting how they will be held accountable for treating victims with empathy, dignity and respect;
  • properly defined processes and recording practices which enable victims complaints to be handled proactively and appropriately;
  • a published statement on whether they will apply the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s Principles of Good Complaint Handling in their complaints processes; and,
  • publish information illustrating how complaints from victims have led to improvements in services.


To access the full report: A Review of Complaints and Resolution for Victims of Crime_January2015