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If police don't lay charges

Where there is insufficient evidence to prosecute an individual, police will not lay charges.

There may be instances where the police will assess the evidence and determine that the incident is not a police matter and may suggest the victim/complainant take civil action. This is generally a private action where the victim will engage a lawyer to take the matter further.

There may be other agencies that a victim/complainant might be referred to depending on the situation or the nature of the complaint.

Police will always record the matter being reported with an incident report. The police officer investigating the matter will explain to the victim/complainant why the matter will not or cannot proceed. Then a victim, eg applying for a VRO, can convey to the court the reasons given by police for not proceeding with a particular matter. The magistrates dealing with the matter can also make inquiries to verify certain information from the police.


Anyone not satisfied with the police action can make a complaint.

You should contact the Officer-in-Charge of the area conducting the investigation who can make an assessment and review the relevant case file.

You can also contact the District Officer for the area where the complaint was made or contact the Police Complaints Administration Centre to lodge a complaint or grievance. The matter will be assessed and a decision made based on an investigation conducted by senior officers.

What ongoing support is still available?

The fact that police will not charge someone does not preclude a victim from contacting the Victim Support Service or seeking Criminal Compensation.

Last updated: 12-Apr-2019

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