Prior reforms to the criminal justice process have improved the early management of cases in the criminal justice system. The reduction of delay in criminal cases improves efficiency and reduces the risk of trauma and stress experienced by witnesses and victims. Minimising the number of times a witness is required to give evidence, increasing available protections for vulnerable witnesses when giving evidence, and appropriately managing questioning of witnesses also serve to better protect witnesses from stress and trauma in the criminal trial process.
Despite these improvements, there are still significant delays in criminal proceedings and there is scope for further reform to improve the experience of witnesses in the criminal justice system. As part of a number of other initiatives, the release of this discussion paper is an opportunity to make further changes to address delay and improve the experience of witnesses in the criminal justice system.
Download the discussion paper
The paper contains a number of proposals for change to the law. In particular, the paper contains three proposals for significant changes to the operation of committal proceedings in Victoria.
The principal objectives driving these proposals are reducing the stress and trauma suffered by victims of crime, increasing efficiency and reducing delay in the criminal trial process.
The paper asks a number of questions about the proposals and called for submissions from stakeholders and members of the public in response.
The proposals have been developed by several bodies, including the Supreme Court of Victoria, the Victorian Law Reform Commission’s Review into the Role of Victims in the Criminal Trial Process, and the Department of Justice and Regulation with input from the Director of Public Prosecutions.