PERCEPTIONS OF AND CONTACT WITH THE JUSTICE SYSTEM
Public confidence in the justice system provides the authority and legitimacy required for the justice system to operate effectively (Butler and McFarlane, 2009). Confidence that the justice system is fair and that processes proceed efficiently underpins the willingness of victims to report crimes to police and of citizens to participate in court processes as witnesses or jurors. Understanding public perceptions about aspects of the criminal justice system is important to crime and justice agencies so that they can develop policies or programs to maintain or improve confidence to the levels necessary for the justice system to function effectively.
In 2011–12, the respondents to the Crime Victimisation Survey were asked about their perceptions of, and contact with, the criminal justice system in their state or territory. This included state and territory police, criminal courts and prisons. The survey asked respondents about the level of confidence they had in the police, criminal courts and prisons to provide key aspects of service, as well as the sources of information that had influenced their opinions. The survey also asked about the contact respondents had with each of the three institutions in the 12 months prior to interview in 2011–12 and the nature of that contact. This was the first time this data has been collected in the Crime Victimisation Survey.
Butler A and McFarlane K (2009) Public Confidence in the NSW Criminal Justice System, Sydney: NSW Sentencing Council.