The Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales is dedicated to improving how the criminal justice system works for all victims and witnesses.
The role of the Victims’ Commissioner is to:
- raise awareness of the common issues faced by victims and witnesses
- monitor how criminal justice and victim support agencies comply with the Victims’ Code and Witness Charter
- conduct detailed research and produce comprehensive reviews
- use their independent voice to influence national policy-making and hold partner agencies to account
- speak up about what works best for all victims and witnesses, and especially the most vulnerable
The Victims’ Commissioner meets regularly with government, criminal justice and support agency officials to highlight what works well and to advocate for change where the system needs improving.
Monitoring compliance with the Victims Code and Witness Charter
The Victims’ Code and Witness Charter explains the minimum standard of service that agencies must provide to victims and witnesses at each step of their journey through the justice system. The Commissioner works to promote good practice and strengthen victims’ rights. You can find out more in our guide on what to expect if you’re a victim of crime.
Research and reviews
The Office of the Victims’ Commissioner conducts detailed research and produces comprehensive reviews to get a better understanding of everyone’s experience of the justice system. This information is used to inform and make recommendations for positive systemic change. The Commissioner also writes an annual report, which explains the work of their office to date and sets out future priorities. Find our reviews and publications in the Our Work section.
The Commissioner is independent from government, which means they are free to give their opinion to key policymakers on how the justice system could be more efficient, easier to understand and to access. The role is explained in the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004.
Speaking up for victims
The Victims’ Commissioner speaks up about what works best for all victims and witnesses, and especially the most vulnerable. While the Commissioner is not permitted, by law, to advise on individual cases or to challenge any decisions made by criminal justice agencies, feedback from victims of crime is important, as this information helps build a better understanding of the issues, which informs the Commissioner’s wider policy work.
Read about the current Victims’ Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird.
For a selection of some of the work we do and publish, see the Our Work section.