Today the Victims’ Commissioner publishes her 2017/18 Annual Report.
The Victims’ Commissioner Baroness Newlove has published her 2017/18 Annual Report, in which she welcomes the fact that treatment of victims has moved to the heart of political debate in Britain, and that the public want more to be done to support victims.
She said: “2017/18 has seen the treatment of victims move to the centre of political debate. There is a prevailing view that support received by victims is falling short and that we as a society must do better in supporting fellow citizens whose lives have been devastated by crime.”
The Commissioner believes the time has come for the Government to usher in a Victim’s Law, providing victims with full legal rights including;
• Right to be informed
• Right to be heard and
• The right to challenge
She calls on the Government to commit to providing victims with a seamless journey through the criminal justice system, with victims of the worst crimes being given their own independent victims advocate.
Publishing her Annual Report for 2017/18, Baroness Newlove reflected on the changes to the parole system following the judicial challenges brought by victims of serial rapist, John Worboys. She wants the public clamour for change to be a catalyst for sweeping changes to the criminal justice system, changes that place victims at its heart. She urges the Government to “rise to the challenge and be bold in its approach.”
Her report also reviews support given to vulnerable victims, highlighting the need to support children, by improving the registered intermediary service, and implementing the interim recommendations of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Support.
In her Annual Report, Baroness Newlove welcomes the changes to the parole system announced by ministers earlier this year. “Victims tell me they want to be more involved in the parole process.”
She backs the decision to make parole more transparent: “I believe transparency can only enhance victim confidence in the parole process and this must be a positive development.” She also commits to working with the Government in changing the Victim Contact Scheme giving more victims discretionary access to join.
Looking ahead, the Commissioner promises to continue shining a light on vulnerable victims, in particular, victims of domestic abuse. She is committed to undertaking a review into criminal injuries compensation and its accessibility to victims. She also wants to examine the support given to victims of anti-social behaviour.
You can read the VC’s full 2017/18 Annual Report here.