Section 1 Involvement of Victims in Criminal Proceedings

1 Support systems for victims

Victim advisors assigned to district public prosecutors offices nationwide engage in counseling victims, guiding or accompanying them to court, and assisting them in various procedures such as inspecting trial records and claims for the return of evidence, etc. In addition, crime victim early support organizations are designated by prefectural public safety commissions as private sector organizations that can provide victims, etc. with appropriate and reliable support immediately after they suffer damage (as of the end of September 2012, a total of 42 organizations, including the Tokyo Crime Victim Support Center, etc., were designated; Source: National Police Agency). Victim advisors can also introduce victims, etc. to these organizations in accordance with their individual situation.

The Japan Legal Support Center (known as “Houterasu”; hereinafter referred to as the “Center”) was established in April 2006 in accordance with the Comprehensive Legal Support Act (Act No. 74 of 2004) and has been providing legal support services to crime victims, etc. since October the same year. The Center provides the victims, etc. with information on the appropriate involvement of victims, etc. in criminal procedures and systems to help them recover from the damage they suffered or to mitigate their pain, along with introducing them to lawyers who are well versed in the activities of crime victim support organizations, etc. and in crime victim support both over the telephone and meeting at the respective offices. A total of 9,780 cases (down 702 from the previous year) utilized the services in FY 2011 through counseling over the crime victim support hotline and 13,096 cases (down 993 (id.)) made inquiries on crime damage or criminal procedures, etc. at district offices, and of which 877 cases (down 52 (id.)) were then introduced to lawyers well versed in providing crime victim support. The number of cases where victim participants (victims, etc. whom the court allowed to participate in criminal trials) applied for court-appointed attorneys to aid them in that participation (request for the appointment of an attorney) was 282 (total of 351 persons requested) in FY 2011. By type of offense, the number was large for rape/forcible indecency (32.3%), injury (18.8%), homicide (excluding inducing or aiding suicide and homicide with consent) (16.0%), and negligence in vehicle driving causing death or injury (14.2%) (Source: Japan Legal Support Center).