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Victims’ Commissioner announces new CEO

Katie Kempen will take up post as Chief Executive Officer at the Office of the Victims’ Commissioner from June 2021

The Victims’ Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird, is delighted to announce the appointment of the new Chief Executive Officer for the Office of the Victims Commissioner, following the conclusion of a competitive open recruitment process.

Katie Kempen will take up post as CEO at the Office of the Victims’ Commissioner from June 2021. The current CEO, Russell A’Court, has been in post since 2016 and departs to commence his retirement.

Katie joins the Office of the Victims’ Commissioner from the Independent Custody Visiting Association (ICVA), where she is the current Chief Executive. The ICVA leads, supports and represents local volunteer schemes, who make unannounced visits to police custody in order to check on the rights, entitlements and wellbeing of detainees and to prevent ill-treatment in detention.

The appointment comes at a decisive time for victims’ policy and for the work of the Victims’ Commissioner, with a consultation on a future Victims Law set to be launched by the government in the summer.

Katie Kempen said: “I am excited to join the Office of the Victims’ Commissioner, under Dame Vera, at such an important time, where victims’ rights are widely recognised and a Victims’ Bill is on the horizon. I look forward to working with stakeholders to ensure that victims’ rights are enshrined and victims receive the support they need to cope and recover.”

Dame Vera Baird QC said: “I am delighted to announce Katie Kempen as my new Chief Executive Officer. Katie brings with her a wealth of experience, expertise and a deep commitment to upholding human rights and dignity throughout the criminal justice system. With such pivotal moments for victims’ policy on the horizon, I have no doubt that Katie, with her proven track record of delivering, will be the perfect addition to the team. I look forward to Katie joining the team very soon.”

“Russell will be greatly missed, not only as a CEO, but as a mentor and a friend, and I wish him well in what I expect will be a very active retirement.”

Katie has been a member of cross-departmental and arm’s length partnerships, including the Ministerial Board for Deaths in Custody and the National Preventive Mechanism. She has also contributed to academic partnerships researching the specific needs of female detainees.

Katie joined the ICVA from a background in victims’ services having provided national policy support to reforms that devolved responsibility for commissioning services from the Ministry of Justice to Police and Crime Commissioners. Katie has previously commissioned local specialist services and has a background as a trustee for a domestic abuse charity.

Katie will start in post from 21 June 2021.