Briefing on victims of mentally disordered offenders
This document outlines proposed amendments to the Victims and Prisoners Bill, with the intent of granting parity of rights to victims of mentally disordered offenders.
The Victims and Prisoners Bill seeks to strengthen the principles of the Victims’ Code by placing them in legislation, including the principle that victims should have the opportunity to make their views heard in the criminal justice process. However, this principle does not apply equally to victims of mentally disordered offenders (MDOs) when compared to victims of offenders in prison. The Bill presents a valuable opportunity to ensure that these two groups of victims are afforded the same rights and entitlements.
The following amendments to the Bill would make the necessary changes required that would grant parity of rights to victims of mentally disordered offenders.
- Victims of mentally disordered offenders who appear before the Mental Health Tribunal should be able to make a Victim Personal Statement and should be able to meet the Tribunal to present the VPS in person. This would grant victims of mentally disordered offenders the same rights at this stage of their criminal justice journey as is granted to victims of offenders in prison.
- The principle that victims should be given information about the criminal justice process should be extended to explicitly include the NHS, in order to bring mental health tribunal decisions in line with the rest of the criminal justice system.
- The NHS should be included within the remit of the Victims’ Code, to ensure that victims of mentally disordered offenders are provided with information about their offender – including a summary of reasons for the decision taken by the Mental Health Tribunal.
For further information on any of the proposed amendments, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.