New Zealand’s largest advocacy group supporting victims and families of violent crime is dismayed at the treatment of victims in their quest for knowledge regarding those who have offended against them.
The Sensible Sentencing Trust is angry that repeated requests for information on offenders by their victims is being routinely denied and sees this as an erosion of the few rights attributed to victims to protect the rights and privacy of the offender.
Spokesman for the Trust, Graeme Moyle says “the Sensible Sentencing Trust works with these victims on a daily basis, we see the pain they endure, emotional and physical, as a result of murder, rape or other serious violent crime, they go through hell, they’re disempowered by the judicial system and agonise over lenient sentences imposed by the courts”.
“This situation is exacerbated should the offender be detained under mental health legislation”.
The family of Christie Marceau, killed by Akshay Chand in 2011, requested information regarding Chand and the safety risk he poses prior to fronting the parole board yesterday but were denied any information due to privacy constraints.
“This family, in preparation for Chands parole hearing, requested perfectly reasonable information regarding their daughter’s killer in relation to his progress and the safety risk he now poses” Moyle said, “they were denied at every turn, firstly by the Department of Corrections, the Mason Clinic, the Waitemata District Health Board, Ombudsman and finally the Parole Board”.
“Privacy legislation plunged the blade into this already damaged family and bureaucrats twisted the knife”.
“Privacy laws in these situations are nothing more than state sanctioned victimisation and another example of offender rights superseding those of the victim”.
“A humane society would recognise there needs to be a balance between offender privacy and a victims right to information, at present the scales are weighted completely in favour of the offender, more weight needs to be applied to the victims side” Moyle said.
Mental Health Issues Spokesperson
Phone: 027 4941414