Victims' Commissioner for England and Wales Dame Vera Baird QC explains why it's so important we can reflect real life experiences

The Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales Dame Vera Baird QC has thanked all those who have taken the time to fill in the Victims’ Survey she is currently running, and encouraged anyone who has yet to complete it to do so.

The questionnaire, which has been created by the Commissioner’s research team, consists of a series of short questions about victims’ experience of every stage of the Criminal Justice process from the initial incident, through the police investigation to any subsequent court hearing.

The responses – which must be submitted by 5 May 2020 – will be used as part of the Commissioner’s submission to the consultation on the Victims’ Code of Practice (VCOP) which is currently being conducted by the Government.

Dame Vera, who as filmed a short video about the survey, said: “It is fantastic that so many people who have lived-experience of the criminal justice system from a victim’s perspective have taken the time to complete the survey and share their experiences and I thank them for that.

“Only those who have been a victim can explain how they were treated and how they felt during the process and I need to capture that.

She added: “We have had a very positive response and I would urge anyone who has reported a crime in the last three years who has yet to complete the survey to do so – I am particularly keen to hear from members of the BAME community and from male victims to ensure their experiences can feed into my submission.

“I understand that it may be difficult for people to share their experiences, but I want to reassure everyone that all information submitted is confidential.” Dame Vera concluded.

Following intervention from the Commissioner, and other victims’ organisations, the deadline for submissions to the consultation has been pushed back until 28 May to allow interested parties the time to focus on responding to the Coronavirus outbreak.

The Government’s consultation is the next step in improving the experience of victims within the justice system and will pave the way for a Victims’ Law that will guarantee victims their rights.

It focuses on VCOP which is the statutory Government document which sets out the minimum level of services that victims of crime should receive from criminal justice agencies and other organisations in England and Wales.

Please click this link to complete the survey – https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/victimscodesurvey/