Introduction

The Assistance to and Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses Act, No.04 of 2015 provides for the establishment of National Authority for the Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses in order to protect the victims of crime and witnesses. The objective of this Act is to strengthen the course of administration of justice by identifying a proper legal framework to protect the rights of the victims of crime and witnesses. The Authority located at No.428/11A, Denzil Kobbekaduwa Mawatha, Battaramulla was ceremonially declared opened on 08/01/2016by His Excellency the President.

Subsequently, by notice published in the Gazette Extra Ordinary No.1966/02 dated 09/05/2016, the subject that lies with the scope of the Authority was entrusted with the Hon. Minister of Justice with effect from 27/04/2016. Accordingly, the Hon. Minister of Justice, by order published in the Gazette Extra Ordinary No.1967/8 dated 16/05/2016,directedthat the provisions specified in the Assistance to and Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses Act, No.04 of 2015 be implemented with effect from 18.05.2016.

In compliance with the provisions specified in Section 12(1) of Part IV of the Act, the Board of Management of the Authority was appointed with effect from 11/08/2016 consisting of five members appointed by His Excellency the President from among persons who are academically or professionally qualified and have experience in professions or fields of professional activity associated with the criminology, the criminal justice system, the promotion and protection of human rights or medicine and  seven other ex-officio members viz. the Secretary to the Ministry of the Minister-in-Charge of the subject of Justice, the Secretary to the Ministry of the Minister-in-Charge of the Police Department, the Secretary to the Ministry of the Minister-in-Charge of the subject of Women Affairs, the Secretary to the Ministry of the Minister-in-Charge of the subject of Children, a member of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, a nominee of the Attorney-General and a nominee of the Inspector General of Police or their representatives respectively.

Duties and functions

Duties and functions of the Authority established under Section 11 of the Act may be summarized as follows:-

  1. Enforcement functions - To identify, promote, protect and make aware of the rights and entitlements of the victims of crime and witnesses;
  2. Quasi-judicial functions - To investigate and monitor the infringement of rights and entitlements of the victims of crime and witnesses and make recommendations to state institutions, public officers and courts of law;
  3. Operational functions - To guarantee protection of the victims of crime and witnesses;
  4. Regulatory functions - To issue guidelines and to supervise.

The Victims of Crime and Witnesses Assistance and Protection Division

The Assistance to and Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses Act, No.04 of 2015 provides for the establishment and maintenance of a Division to be called “The Victims of Crime and Witnesses Assistance and Protection Division” under the direction and guidance of National Authority. Interms of Section 19(2) of the Act, a Senior Superintendent of Police, who comes under the supervision of the nominee of the Inspector General of police ex-officio appointed as a member of the Board, shall be placed in charge of the Division.

Victim and a witness crime may request protection from institutions

Under the Act, a victim and a witness of a crime may request protection from institutions under mentioned. viz.

  • The National Authority for the Protection of victims of Crime and Witnesses;
  • The Victims of Crime and Witnesses Assistance and Protection Division;
  • Courts of law
  • The Commissions (The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, The Commission to Investigate Bribery or Corruptions, Investigations Commissions or a Special President’s Commission of Inquiry or any other Commission appointed under the Commission of Inquiry Act.)
  • Officer-in-Charge of the Police in the area.

Events