Victims Law policy paper: The Victims’ Commissioner’s proposals for a Victims Law
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Victim participation is essential to the delivery of criminal justice. In this paper, we make the case for improving the treatment of victims in a practical and meaningful way, giving them confidence in the system and to help them to cope and recover from the impact of crime.
This report highlights the decline in victim confidence in the criminal justice system, with increasing numbers of victims withdrawing their support for prosecution, with others saying they would be unwilling to testify in court again or express increasing dissatisfaction with their treatment by criminal justice practitioners.
Contained in the document’s 34 recommendations are calls for the government to put victims’ rights on a proper statutory footing, with monitoring and compliance mechanisms to hold agencies to account; to lay out in law the role and rights of victims as participants in the criminal justice system; and to establish a single unified victims’ complaints system.
The report is divided into three key themes:
- Victim Participation in the justice system
- Monitoring compliance with victim entitlements
- Ensuring equality of access to justice for all victims
The Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales, Dame Vera Baird says:
“I look forward to a future where victims’ rights are no longer viewed as an optional extra, but a key part of how we deliver overall justice. The Victims’ Law has the chance to be a once in a generation, landmark piece of legislation, which could truly transform the victim’s experience of the justice system. To achieve this, the government must have the ambition and determination to make it truly transformative. Acknowledging the true position of victims as active and valued participants in the criminal justice process is key if we are to reverse falling victim confidence in our justice system.”