Fairer debt-recovery system for victims of crime
Wednesday, 30 November 2016
Victims of crime should not have to wait years for court-ordered compensation to be paid to them through the State Penalties and Enforcement Agency (SPER).
I spoke in Parliament on behalf of local residents Andy and Laurel Leach, who have been waiting over six years to receive a single dollar of the court-ordered restitution payments that are due to them.
Advocating on their behalf, I am calling on the Treasurer to overhaul the SPER system to make it possible for victims of crime to get faster recovery of outstanding court ordered payments.
The system needs to be overhauled so that it is fair dinkum, rather than punishing those who do the right thing and leaving those who do not thumbing their nose at them.
My constituents, Mr & Mrs Leach have gone through the court process and the court has ordered that the offender pay restitution, but six years later they are still haven’t received any money.
How can it be that courts make orders for debtors to pay up, but those who are owed money cannot get any information from SPER about when they are going to see a single dollar?
To make matters worse, the privacy laws protect the offender in this situation and the victims are unable to get any information from the State Penalties and Enforcement Agency (SPER) about what enforcement action is being taken to recover the monies owed to them.
It’s completed unacceptable that the victim is unable to get an update on what progress is being made. They need to receive timely payment of the money owing to them so that they can move on and put the matter behind them.
On their behalf, I have advocated for changes to the State Penalties Enforcement Act to ensure that there is a fair collection of restitution and for people to be made aware of progress.