Today, I have written to the Secretary of State for Justice, welcoming him back and setting out my thoughts on what might be included in the government’s Victims’ Law.
The government’s manifesto included a commitment to “… pass and implement a Victims’ Law that guarantees victims’ rights and the level of support they can expect.” Such a law is long overdue and if we use this opportunity wisely, it can significantly improve victims’ experience of the criminal justice system.
With this in mind, I have offered a list of twenty proposals for inclusion into a Victims’ Law. These include:
- statutory rights for victims and a requirement on criminal justice agencies to make sure all their policies and practices are consistent with these rights;
- stronger powers for Victims’ Commissioners to hold criminal justice agencies and government departments to account;
- statutory entitlements for the most vulnerable victims, having access to an independent advisor or being considered for a registered intermediary;
- greater public accountability for service providers, including a VC annual audit of Code compliance and a requirement on PCCs to include victim services in their five-year Police and Crime Plan;
- more support and rights for victims of persistent anti-social behaviour and improved access to restorative justice for those victims who wish to pursue this;
- victims of sexual crime having access to free legal representation to protect their Article 8 Rights; and
- victims of mentally disordered offenders having the same rights as other victims within the Victim Contact Scheme.