The Victims’ Commissioner and her team held a live discussion and Q&A of her new review of special measures on 26 May.
On 26 May 2021, Dame Vera Baird QC held a live webinar to launch her latest review on special measures. This interactive webinar provided stakeholders with an opportunity to engage with Dame Vera on her views for the next steps in special measures provision, based on the findings of her latest review.
Published on 19 May 2021, the Victims’ Commissioner’s review, ‘Next steps for special measures,’ examined the provision of protections for vulnerable and intimidated victims, known as ‘special measures.’ In her report, the Commissioner found the current system is not working as well as it could with victims and witnesses falling through the gaps and not being offered appropriate special measures.
Special measures are a series of provisions that help vulnerable and intimidated witnesses to give their best evidence in court and help to relieve some of the stress and anxiety associated with giving evidence. Under the Victims Code, all witnesses have the right to have their needs assessed by a police officer and the Witness Care Unit, a unit within the police force.
The review explores the current provision of special measures for vulnerable and intimidated witnesses, from the initial assessment of their needs all the way to trial. Drawing on testimony from criminal justice and witness support professionals, it outlines victims’ and witnesses’ wider experiences of court and special measures, including during Covid, and makes recommendations on how to improve the provision of special measures and address barriers to access.