The Victims' Commissioner says victim advocates can help victims through the aftermath of a crime.
Today, Baroness Newlove, the Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales publishes her report – Victim Advocates: A Rapid Evidence Assessment. The report finds that victim advocates play a crucial role working with crime victims to rebuild their lives and access justice. Becoming a crime victim can be a shattering experience, but evidence suggests that advocates can help them through the challenging aftermath.
The report establishes that independent victim advocates can deliver real benefits for crime victims, as well as the criminal justice professionals they work alongside. Evidence shows that they provide practical and emotional support to help victims cope and recover from the impact of crime, as well as make informed choices during their criminal justice journey.
Baroness Newlove says: “Many crime victims face a lonely and demoralising journey, particularly when the victim is already struggling with trauma. It’s little wonder so many victims tell me that dealing with our criminal justice system is often as harrowing as the crime itself.”
“I am passionate about changing the victim experience of our justice system. For many years, I’ve backed the need for traumatised victims to be given the support of an Independent Victims’ Advocate or IVA. These advocates are not lawyers, but professionals, trained to support victims, and speak on their behalf to articulate their needs and preferences.
Advocates offer emotional and practical support by talking through options with victims, and actively listening to their needs and issues. Their knowledge of the impacts of crime and criminal justice processes enable them to fight the victim’s corner when responsibilities are neglected. They can also undertake a broader advocacy role to promote victims’ interests in the wider criminal justice system.