In this section you'll find more information about how the case is decided, sentencing and other things that occur at the conclusion of the court case. Select a link below for more information about that topic.
|How the case is decided||Victim Impact Statements||Restorative justice|
If the case is heard in the District Court, a jury will listen to all the evidence provided and to the information the judge has given about the law. They then decide on the verdict. The jury can decide that the accused is "guilty" or "not guilty". If the jury cannot decide, this is called a "hung jury".
If the accused if found not guilty, they are free to leave the court. They cannot be tried on the same charge, again. There are very specific circumstances when a new trial or a retrial can be ordered.
If the verdict is "not guilty" , it does not necessarily mean that the jury did not believe you.
It may mean that the jury were not able to find the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt. It is important to speak to a support person or counsellor about your feelings.
If the accused is found guilty the judge sentences them. This may happen immediately after the guilty verdict, but usually it will happen on a later date. This is so that background reports about the accused and Victim Impact Statements can be prepared. The court may remand the accused in custody or grant bail until the sentence is passed.
The length and type of sentence imposed on the accused is up to the judge. The judge will take into account how severe they think the crime was and the accused previous criminal record. Sentencing Information Package (PDF 215kb) is designed to assist victims of crime in understanding the sentencing process. The booklet also explains the purposes of sentencing, the basic elements of sentencing procedure and the terminology used by a sentencing court.
A Victim Impact Statement is a written statement given to the court about the impact that a crime has had on the victim, once an offender has been convicted and is to be sentenced.
A victim impact statement can provide the victim with an opportunity to participate in the criminal justice process by informing the court about the effects of the crime on them.
The police and prosecutor cannot assist in preparing the Victim Impact Statement, but can refer you to the Witness Assistance Service or other services such as Victims Services or sexual assault counsellors, as appropriate. In some cases, the prosecutor may arrange for a professional Victim Impact Statement by a psychologist or other qualified professional to be prepared.
A Victim Impact Statement provides the victim of a sexual offence (as well as many other offences) with an opportunity to participate in the criminal justice system by informing the court about the effects of the crime on them. You don't have to give a Victim Impact Statement. However, if you choose to, it is given to the court by the prosecutor after conviction, and before sentencing of the offender.
The Victim Impact Statement may be read to the court by your or another person. If you don't want to face the offender, but want to read it out in the courtroom, you can go to a private room away from the courtroom and give your statement to the court on a TV screen. Photos, drawings or other images can also be used to describe the impact of the offence.
A victim of sexual assault can nominate another person who can read the Victim Impact Statement to the court on their behalf.
For more information refer to the:
Contact Victims Services if you wish to obtain a printed copy of the Victim Impact Information Package.
You can be listed on a Victims Register while the offender is in prison. if you wish to be kept informed of the location of the offender and when he or she is to be released.
In certain circumstances, some victims of sexual assault might wish to meet with the offender in a safe environment. This may be for the purpose of discussing the impact of the offence, what can be done to repair some of the harm as a result of the offence, and holding the offender personally accountable. Corrective Services NSW - Restorative Justice Unit manages this process.
People sometimes start, or go back, to see a counsellor at this time.
Some people feel that their expectations of court have not been met. Some people feel free as that they have had the opportunity to tell their story, and be believed. Others feel that they have had their lives "on hold" until court is over and think that they might benefit from talking with someone separate from their everyday lives.
There are trained counsellors who can talk with you. Information about counselling services is available on this website and also on the Justice Journey website.