Victims of crime have rights and they need to know what they are, said North West Premier Edna Bomo Molewa yesterday.
At the launch of an implementation plan for a charter of victims' rights in Mafikeng, she said: "Victims of crime are poorly informed about their empowerment.
"Not knowing about rights is tantamount to not having them at all."
She said victims had rights to be treated with respect, fairness, sensitivity, dignity and privacy, and to get information.
They also had the right to be protected, assisted and compensated.
Molewa said victims often felt lonely because they believe the criminal justice system cared more for criminals than for them.
She said the media is also to blame because it "sensationalised prison life as a luxury. It often mischievously reports on criminals having access to television sets, other facilities and amenities, thus creating the impression that being a prisoner is fun."
Molewa said one of the objectives of the charter is to ensure that children and rape victims are sheltered from further trauma and not subjected to humiliation through the ill-handling of their cases.
She said victims also had responsibilities and needed to provide police with information. - Sapa