The Victims and Prisoners Bill: briefing and proposed amendments
This document contains a background briefing on the Victims and Prisoners Bill (pages 1-4) and proposed amendments to the Bill (pages 4-9).
The Victims’ Commissioner outlines her proposed amendments to the Victims and Prisoners Bill. These are organised according to the Commissioner’s priorities for the Bill: accountability (pages 4-7), accessibility (pages 7-8) and inclusivity (pages 8-9).
These are amendments that the Victims’ Commissioner believes are necessary to ensure the Bill deliver for victims.
Ensuring criminal justice agencies are held to account.
- Baseline compliance standards – Minimum threshold compliance levels for each right under the Victims’ Code, complemented by independent inspections in cases of breaches by the respective criminal justice agencies. (See amendment D)
- An independent compliance report – A statutory duty upon the Victims’ Commissioner to compile and publish an annual independent report on Code compliance, drawing from data collected by Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs). (See amendment G)
- Enhanced powers for the Commissioner – Strengthened Victims’ Commissioner powers, including a right to be consulted on changes to the Code and related guidance, and a statutory duty for agencies listed under the Code to co-operate with the Commissioner. (See amendments: A, B, C, E, F, H, I, J)
An in-depth briefing detailing proposed amendments to enhance monitoring of Code compliance can be found online.
Providing vulnerable victims with the specialist support and rights they need.
- An accessible Code – A statutory duty upon the Secretary of State to ensure the Code is accessible to victims who are deaf, disabled, visually impaired or who do not speak English as a first language. (See amendment K)
- Enhanced protections for third-party materials – More robust safeguards for victims to limit requests for personal records from third parties to what is strictly necessary and proportionate in pursuit of a reasonable line of inquiry, mirroring protections for digital materials (i.e., data held on phones). (See amendment M)
An in-depth briefing detailing proposed amendments to the Bill, and specifically aimed at improving the criminal justice system for victims of rape and sexual assault, is available online.
Extending support to those victims seriously impacted by crime who are currently or partially excluded.
- ASB victims to be given access to support services – Victims of persistent and targeted anti-social behaviour should be recognised as victims within the Bill, with access to support services as provided to other victims. Those victims who qualify for the ASB Case Review should be listed within the definition of a victim. (See amendment M) An in-depth briefing can be found online.
- Parity of treatment for victims of mentally disordered offenders – Provide victims of mentally disordered offenders with the right to submit a Victim Personal Statement, and the right to make representations to the Mental Health Tribunal in person. (See amendments: O, P, Q) An in-depth briefing can be found online.
- Recognition for bereaved victims of murder abroad – Bereaved victims of murder abroad must be recognised under the Victims’ Code. (See amendment L)
- Children of victims of modern slavery must be recognised as victims of crime – Many of these children will have witnessed appalling abuse and will have been traumatised as a result. (See amendment N)
For more information on these amendments, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.