Legislative Council: Thursday, February 08, 2024


Homicide Victim Support Group

The Hon. R.B. MARTIN (15:01): It feels like that always seems to happen when I ask a question.

The PRESIDENT: The Hon. Mr Martin, you might provoke that. Now please ask your question.

The Hon. R.B. MARTIN: My question is to the Attorney-General. Will the minister please inform the council about his recent attendance at the annual Homicide Victim Support Group candlelight memorial service?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:02): I thank the honourable member for his question. It was a great pleasure late last year to attend the Homicide Victim Support Group's annual candlelight vigil at St Augustine's church. The Homicide Victim Support Group SA is a group largely made up of volunteers who provide support to people who have lost friends or loved ones to homicide.

Chaired by Lynette Nitschke, the support group provides a critical network to guide families and friends of people tragically lost to homicide through the justice system and beyond, during what is certainly the most traumatic period in their lives. The loss of a family member or friend to homicide is, for most, unimaginable, but for those assisted by the support group it is their reality. The support group walks with these people gently and with great kindness and we are proud to support their work and have done so recently, with additional funding provided last year to boost the group's resources and ability to provide services.

Additionally, we have recently completed a round of consultation on a suite of reforms aimed at giving victims of crime a stronger voice in the sentencing process. We have a draft bill that we will be introducing to parliament this year that seeks to provide better opportunities for victims to provide a victim impact statement and to do so in the way that they choose. These proposed reforms complement other work to provide justice to victims, including restoring base funding to the Victim Support Service and particularly their core companion services I have talked about a number of times in this place.

As I said, it was good to have the opportunity to see the work of the Homicide Victim Support Group in action at the end of year candlelight memorial service and to be with them while they honoured their loved ones with so much strength and dignity. I thank the Homicide Victim Support Group for inviting me to share this occasion and for their work more broadly. I know that their incredible efforts have provided and will continue to provide comfort and guidance to those needing it during some of their darkest hours.