Stage 1 | Subject outline | version control

Legal Studies Stage 1
Subject outline

Version 4.0 - For teaching in 2024.
Accredited in June 2020 for teaching at Stage 1 from 2021. 

Stage 1 | Subject outline | Focus areas | Optional focus area | Example 5: Victims and the Law

Example 5: Victims and the Law

A public focus on victims of crime is reflected in a number of initiatives by both parliament and the courts. Students investigate a range of issues such as double jeopardy, the right to silence, victims of crime, white-collar crimes, international crimes, victimless crimes, and access to the justice system.

Students explore current legislation, such as the Victims of Crime Act 2001 (SA) and the Sentencing Act 2017 (SA), and any relevant cases.

Through developing their response to big questions, students should understand and evaluate the Australian legal system’s approach to victims and the law and make recommendations for change as appropriate. Students make one or more connections to the concepts of rights, fairness and justice, power, and change.

Students may consider the following elements of Optional focus area: Victims and the law as a basis for their inquiry.

  • Commissioner for Victims’ Rights
  • the Department for Correctional Services Victims’ Register
  • the South Australian Court Hierarchy
  • the Victims of Crime Fund
  • the Victim Support Service
  • protection of victims’ rights
  • common law rights
  • statutory rights
  • international rights obligations
  • human rights
  • access to justice
  • the need for change.

Big questions include:

  • Who are the victims?
  • Is there such a thing as a victimless crime?
  • How adequate is legislation and case law in considering the victims of crime?
  • Is there an imbalance between the rights of the victim and the rights of the accused? Should there be?
  • Should there be any role by victims in sentencing, family conferencing, and victim-offender mediation?
  • Is there adequate compensation for victims through a victims of crime levy, criminal injury compensation, or civil remedies? What would be considered adequate and why?
  • How can justice in the past be different from justice now?
  • Should there be a stronger focus on restorative justice in Australia?

Possible inquiry questions:

  • How do you report a crime?
  • What structures are put in place to support victims of crime after an incident has occurred?
  • What rights do victims have under current legislation?
  • What rights do perpetrators have under law during the criminal process?
  • Why is it important for an accused to be considered innocent until proven guilty?
  • To what degree can victims be involved during a criminal trial?
  • What is a victim impact statement?
  • What is charge bargaining and what rights do victims have in this process?