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The team

Executive team


Policy and Research

Executive team

Photo of Baroness Newlove, the interim Victims' Commissioner for England and Wales.

Baroness Newlove, 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.

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.

Clara Long, Communications Manager

As Communications Manager, Clara supports the Head of Communications in developing strategies to promote the work and priorities of the Victims’ Commissioner across multiple channels, including press and media, digital platforms and stakeholder communications.

Clara has a background in the charitable sector and joins the Victims’ Commissioner from a national drug and alcohol charity, where she oversaw the organisation’s national PR campaigns and press activity. Before that, Clara worked at an international aid organisation, managing press and communications for key institutional donors such as the UK government and the EU.

Clara has a legal background, including a masters in human rights.

For media enquiries, see the Contact section.

Lacey Ryan, Correspondence Manager

As Correspondence Manager, Lacey assists the Victims’ Commissioner with all correspondence and communications from victims and witnesses of crime who wish to share their experience of the criminal justice system. Through emails, letters, and phone calls, she helps victims share their experiences, contributing valuable insights that inform the Commissioner’s advocacy efforts.

Lacey joined the team from Victim Support, where she provided ongoing support and advice to victims and witnesses of crime as a caseworker.

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

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.

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.

Photo of Phe Hayhurst

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.