Baroness Newlove, interim Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales
In her role as Victims’ Commissioner, Baroness Newlove is responsible for championing the interests of victims and witnesses of crime, reviewing the operation of the Victims Code of Practice (the Victims’ Code), and advising and holding government and other criminal justice agencies to account. She will undertake reviews into victim services and report on how agencies are complying with the Code of Practice for Victims.
Learn more about the role of the Victims’ Commissioner.
Russell A’Court, Chief Executive Officer
As CEO of the Office of the Victims’ Commissioner (OVC), Russell is responsible for managing the team, setting the strategy, advising and supporting the Commissioner and acting as her ambassador.
Russell has been appointed to the role for the 12 month term of the current Commissioner, having been CEO of the OVC from 2016 to 2021.
Prior to joining the OVC in 2016, Russell was Head of the Public Protection Casework Section at HM Prison and Probation Service. Russell has worked in the criminal justice system for 30 years, including in sentencing policy, prison operational policy and as a manager in the Parole Board.
Russell works part time, Monday to Thursday.
Madeleine Storry, Head of Policy and Research
Madeleine is the OVC’s Head of Policy and Research, responsible for leading, overseeing and developing the policy and research functions.
Madeleine joined from the Ministry of Justice where she was a Senior Researcher in the Data and Analytical Services Directorate.
Prior to her career in the Civil Service, Madeleine was in academia where her specialism was in prison research. Madeleine holds a PhD in Criminology.
Madeleine works a condensed week, Monday to Thursday.
Natasha Pizzuto, Diary Manager
Natasha has managed the Commissioner’s diary since May 2019. She joined the team from the Citizens Advice Witness Service, where she provided support and information to victims and witnesses at court and prior to that worked with survivors of domestic abuse.
If you are interested in scheduling a meeting with the team, see the Contact page.
Tom Cracknell, Head of Communications
The Head of Communications is responsible for all external communications for the Victims’ Commissioner, including press and media, digital communications, campaigns and external affairs.
Tom has a background in government communications and policy and joined the Office of the Victims’ Commissioner from the Ministry of Justice.
For media enquiries, see the Contact section.
Chris Dowsett, Communications Manager
The Communications Manager supports the Head of Communications in managing the Victims’ Commissioner’s external communications, including drafting statements, setting up interviews and handling media enquiries.
Chris’s background is in government and public sector communications, specialising in consumer facing media relations for NS&I, the Money and Pensions Service, and most recently in the NHS. He joined in September 2023.
For media enquiries, see the Contact section.
The Correspondence Manager assists the Victims’ Commissioner in all correspondence and communications from victims and witnesses of crime who want to share their experience of the Criminal Justice System.
If you are a victim or witness of crime and would like to share your experience of the criminal justice system, you can write to us.
Policy and Research
Beccy Shortt, Policy Manager (VAWG)
Beccy is responsible for the Victims’ Commissioner’s Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) policy work. Beccy advises on VAWG issues, including compiling briefings for policy-makers, responding to government consultations, engaging with VAWG stakeholders and assisting the Commissioner to best represent the interests of survivors.
Prior to joining the Office of the Victims’ Commissioner, Beccy worked in the VAWG sector in both policy and legal adviser roles. Beccy has a legal background, having started her career as a criminal law solicitor.
Beccy works part-time, Monday to Wednesday.
Phe Hayhurst, Policy and Research Officer
The Policy and Research Officer supports the Head of Policy and Research in contributing to the design and delivery of key policy for the Victims’ Commissioner, and advises on victim policy considerations.
Phe joined the OVC in February 2023, from the Home Office.
Sasha Murray, Senior Research Officer
The Senior Research Officer is responsible for running key research projects for the Victims’ Commissioner. This includes the design, implementation and delivery of bespoke research projects, as well as literature reviews and statistical analysis.
Sasha joined from the Department of Health, where she led on research projects to inform early years, children and families policies.
Sarah Welland, Research and Policy Officer
The Research and Policy Officer contributes to bespoke research projects for the Victims’ Commissioner as well as literature reviews and statistical analysis.
Sarah joined the OVC from the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) where she analysed data on complaints and deaths in custody and on probation. She holds a PhD in Psychology, specialising in prison research with young adults.