Supporting the vulnerable
Below are the recommendations to enhance the rights of vulnerable victims and witnesses.
Focus must be on professionalism and sensitivity, in order to bring the best evidence before the court. Services should be tailored towards systematic referrals, protection and continuous support throughout the entire criminal justice process. All personnel must be able to apply special measures and guidelines that are suited to the needs of the victims or witnesses.
All criminal justice agencies and institutions must have training modules that are victim-centric. The police and protection officers with the Social Welfare department need this training as they are the main enforcement officers handling victims. Inter-agency joint trainings are also needed.
Similar to legal aid, this proposed fund should go towards all costs to meet the needs of vulnerable victims and witnesses, from post-incident to post-trial treatment and recovery. As a start, it is proposed that the Legal Aid Department expands its ambit to represent vulnerable victims such as abused women and children in court. This also covers conducting watching briefs and acting as counsel to obtain protection orders.
Focused court support projects should also be initiated and expanded to areas outside the Klang Valley, using standard operating procedures.
A multi-agency and NGOinclusive monitoring body should be set up to make continuous dialogue and due dilligence in victim advocacy a reality.