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Crime victims should have more rights at parole hearings, ombudsman says

The federal ombudsman for crime victims says they should have a right to attend parole hearings and get more information about the offenders who preyed on them.

Sue O’Sullivan also says the federal government should double the $100 surcharge levelled against criminals to finance restitution for victims.

She says that surcharge is routinely waived in the courts, but should be made mandatory.

Ms. O’Sullivan’s first report since her appointment in August 2010 notes crime victims now may attend parole hearings, but are limited to reading a pre-approved statement.

She says they should have an automatic right to attend and should be given the option of video-conferencing or access to transcripts or recordings if they cannot attend in person.

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