Welcome to Victim Support Service

Victim Support Service (VSS) provides free and confidential help to adult victims of crime, witnesses, their family, and friends across South Australia. We work in partnership with other organisations, we are not a government agency or part of the police and you don't have to report a crime to get our help. It doesn’t matter where the crime happened and you can call us any time after the crime, whether it was yesterday, last week or several years ago.

CE update: How does support for victims in South Australia stack-up when compared to Victoria?

As we move in to the finals of the 2015-16 football season, it seems only fitting to compare how we support victims in South Australia with our key AFL rivals – the Victorians.

In August I attended the 2016 Victims and Justice National Conference in Melbourne. It was an ideal opportunity to compare not only how the two jurisdictions provide support for victims, but also their attitudes towards victim engagement in the criminal justice system.

In his opening address to the Conference the Victorian Attorney-General, Martin Pakula, spoke of his government’s intention to legislate for a Victims of Crime Consultative Committee so that future government’s’ in Victoria will be legally required to  support the work of an advisory body dedicated to victim issues. Chaired by a retired Supreme Court Justice, the Committee brings together victim representatives, Police, the Office of Public Prosecutions, the judiciary, the Parole Board, the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal and victim service agencies.

The Committee identifies ways in which the justice system can better support victims. Its members include seven victims of serious offences who provide input from their lived-experience on legislation, policy and support services over a two-year term, helping to promote discussion and mutual understanding, and enabling crime victims to have a greater voice in the Victorian justice system.

One can’t help but contrast this to the situation in South Australia. Initially, we were years in front of our Victorian peers. In SA we legislated for such a victim’s advisory committee as far back as 2001. Under the VOC Act 2001 the Attorney-General may establish an advisory committee to ensure that victims are treated with proper consideration and respect in the criminal justice system, and to help victims to recover from harm suffered by them.

Unfortunately, the emphasis on the word ‘may’ in the SA legislation is highly significant because, although we legislated for a victims advisory committee 15 years ago, our version was scrapped about 6 years ago when John Rau became the Attorney General. The irony is that when asked at the VSS State Election Forum in February 2014 where we should look for best practice in the support of VOC, the Attorney advised us to look at…Victoria.

Whilst the Adelaide Crows may be holding their own against their Victorian rivals– and we wish them well throughout September - it seems that South Australia is losing ground when it comes to victim support and victim engagement.

Julian Roffe
Chief Executive, Victim Support Service

29 August 2016

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Program News: MySafePlace

Family and domestic abuse exposes children to a variety of vulnerabilities. It has profound effects on their education, future relationships, health, emotional wellbeing and engagement in community life.

VSS is establishing MySafePlace for children aged from five years who have experienced family and domestic abuse to address their fear of crime and to develop children's sense of security and agency from which they can begin to recover from trauma. The children will participate in the decision-making process when designing their own MySafePlace. We will work with children to bring to life what they imagine their MySafePlace looks and feels like.

We have initated a crown-funding campaign to raise funds to buy paint, toys, bedding and furniture to turn a child's MySafePlace dream into a reality. This is your opportunity to be a part of a community solution to helping children feel safer and recover from trauma faster.

For more information and to make a donation, click here

If you have a trade or a business and want to donate in other ways, please contact Louise Bastian our Business Development Officer directly on 1800 VICTIM (1800 842846) or louiseb@victimsa.org to discuss other sponsorship opportunities.

By supporting MySafePlace, you'll be giving hope to children who have experienced violence in their homes. Your donations will show that it is not OK for a child to be afraid in their own home to sleep at night; that it is not OK for a child to be terrified of what might happen if they let their guard down or relax. Your involvement will let these kids know that you care, that their opinions and wishes and dreams are valued and will be acted upon and that they are important.

Program News: Eight-week facilitated support group for male survivors of childhood sexual abuse

Commencing Adelaide Tuesday 26 July 2016. Places are lmited.  More information can be found here. Register here  

 

Program News: SAMSN Health Professionals Workshop

Tuesday 6 September 2016. More information here.

 

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Resource of the Week

Traversing the maze of 'evidence' and 'best practice' in domestic and family violence service
provision in Australia

 by Dr Jan Breckenridge and Dr Jen Hamer, University of NSW, 2014.
[Online report, PDF format]
Theorists have labelled domestic violence interventions as 'evidence-based' or 'best practice'.
But are they missing other important kinds of interventions and support?

Learn more about the Resource Centre and join here 

Newsletters

Victims' Voice

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Previous editions: March 2016 December 2015  September 2015  June 2015  March 2015

Crime Victim Enews

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Subscribe to Crime Victim e-news.

Borrowers Club

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‘Revenge Porn’ and the Law Seminar

Victim Support Service and the Centre for Crime and Policy Research have partnered to deliver a professional development seminar on ‘Revenge Porn and the Law’.

The term 'revenge porn' describes the distribution of sexually explicit or intimate images of another person without their consent.

The seminar will explore:

  • the social, technological and legal context within which revenge porn is perpetrated,
  • the impact of revenge porn on victims, and
  • legal and policy responses to revenge porn.

Participants are invited to network over drinks and nibbles after the seminar.  

When: 4:00pm - 6:00pm, Wednesday 31 August 2016

Where: Room 1, Level 1, Flinders University (Victoria Square)

Cost:

$110 for professionals in private practice (e.g. lawyers, psychologists, social workers seeking CPD)

$50 for professionals in the government and non-government sectors

$25 for students, volunteers and non-waged

Register for the 'Revenge Porn' and the Law Seminar

Create Change

Advocacy Update: Supporting child victims of crime

Child Victims of Crime Discussion Paper

On 10 November 2015, VSS in partnership with Anglicare, hosted the ‘Improving Justice and Support for Child and Adolescent Victims of Crime’ Conference. This event involved a diverse group of almost 100 representatives from across the non-government and government sectors with an interest in supporting young victims of crime. Conference participants heard from experts who talked about the dearth of short and long-term support available for young victims of crime and considered and discussed what should be done to address the issues. DemocracyCo summarised the outcomes from the conference. Download a copy of the report. 

Participants proposed two key ideas to improve services for child victims of crime: a ‘One-Stop-Shop’ for young victims of crime to facilitate support and service provision; and a children's court advocate to work directly with young victims during a court case. These two options are the basis of our Services for Child Victims of Crime Discussion Paper

Thank you to those of you who made a submission in response to our Discussion Paper. 

We are currently collating the responses which will inform our advocacy plan. We will continue to raise awareness of this service gap and work in partnership with others to continue to advocate for better services for children. 

Client Survey of Child Victims of Crime

VSS wanted to know how many of our adult clients have children at home who have also been affected by the crime(s) that have resulted in the adults seeking support from VSS. We wanted to learn what the issues are that kids are dealing with, and the services used or sought to help kids affected by crime. So, between 14 December 2015 and 31 January 2016 we asked our clients what the issues were. This survey results we have collected will form the basis of a report outlining what parents want for their children, when they have been affected by crime. We thank all of our clients who participated in the data collection. If you or your children have any experiences you want to share with the VSS research team, please email us at info@victimsa.org.  

For more information about our Child Victims of Crime Advocacy Campaign, go to our Create Change page. 

VSS Submissions

'Connecting the criminal justice system through information management' Submission

In March 2016 the South Australian Government released the Transforming Criminal Justice: Putting People First Discussion Paper on Connecting the criminal justice system through information management. Our submission examines strategies to improve information sharing through better business practices and the use of technology by criminal justice agencies. At present, the needs and expectations of victims are not well understood and met by the agencies of the CJS. We are concerned that efficiency considerations will be used as the overarching indicators of a more victim-focused CJS when, in fact, victims’ rights enshrined in legislation remain largely overlooked.

Our submission is available in our list of submissions.

VSS You Tube

1800 VICTIM (1800 842 846)

1800 842 846

Port Lincoln (Lower Eyre), Whyalla (Upper Eyre), Port Augusta (Far North), Port Pirie (Yorke & Mid North), Berri (Riverland), Murray Bridge (Murraylands), Mount Gambier (Limestone Coast)