The Victims' Commissioner welcomes the government commitment to consult on a Victims Law as she announces new research looking into victims' recent experience of the Code.

The Victims’ Commissioner has welcomed the launch of the new Victims’ Code as it comes into force today (Thursday 1 April 2021), as the government also commits to consult on a long-awaited Victims Law in the summer.

The Victims’ Code sets out the minimum level of service victims can expect from criminal justice agencies such as the police and courts, whether they choose to report the crime or not.

Under the new, revised Code, victims of crime will get better support from the police, courts and other criminal justice agencies.

Today’s milestone will pave the way for a new Victims’ Law, on which Ministers have announced they will consult this summer. It seeks to underpin victims’ rights in legislation and ensure agencies are held to account for delivering them.

This comes as the Victims’ Commissioner today announces details of her upcoming Victims’ Code survey, which will look at victims’ recent experience of the Victims’ Code. Results of the survey will feed into a report charting the victim experience of the criminal justice system and victims’ services in 2020.

The Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales, Dame Vera Baird QC, says:

“We all want a system which delivers justice and the launch of the new Victims’ Code is to be welcomed as an important step in the right direction.

“Under the Victims’ Code, everyone has a right to support following a crime. The Victims’ Code sets out the services and information victims of crime are entitled to from criminal justice agencies — like the police, CPS, and the courts — from the moment they report a crime to the end of the trial. This new, simplified Victims’ Code represents a positive step forward for victims. These 12 rights are well set out and should provide some much-needed clarity for victims and victims’ services.

“I also welcome the government’s commitment to consult on victims’ legislation in the summer. A victims’ law would ensure that victims’ rights, such as to information, making a personal statement and accessing independent support services, are legally enforceable. With a Victims Law, we have the opportunity to truly transform the victims’ experience of the justice system. I look forward to engaging with the government in the coming months to make this law a reality.”