"A Victims’ Law has been long awaited and is now long overdue," says Dame Vera. "If we are to regain the trust of victims, we urgently need a change of culture in how the justice system treats them."

Today (9 February), the Labour Party are introducing into the House of Commons a new bill to enhance protections for victims of crime.

The bill (presented in the form of a Ten Minute Rule Motion) would enshrine the rights of victims in law.

The government has committed itself to a Victims’ Law, with the Ministry of Justice previously signalling plans to consult on a law as recently as 2019 and 2020.

The Victims’ Commissioner first set out her thoughts on what might be included in the government’s Victims’ Law in a letter to the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Robert Buckland MP, in December 2019.

Responding to the Labour Party’s Ten Minute Rule Motion on new victims’ legislation, the Victims’ Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird, said:

“A Victims’ Law has been long awaited and is now long overdue. All leading parties promised legislation on victims in their 2015 manifestos. So, I’m pleased there remains consensus across the political spectrum to deliver change for victims and it’s good to see the Opposition highlighting this in Parliament today.

If we are to regain the trust of victims, we urgently need a change of culture in how the justice system treats them. We have seen a sharp decline in victim confidence in the justice system for some years now. Some victims say that they found their treatment by the criminal justice system worse than the crime and more and more victims are withdrawing their support for prosecutions as a result.

A Victims’ Law must put the rights of victims in law and criminal justice agencies must be held to account for complying with those rights. We need to help victims to cope, recover and play their role in the justice system and to ensure that those who are guilty are convicted and prevented from victimising others.”