Find out about the current Commissioner Dame Vera Baird

An independent voice

The Victims’ Commissioner is appointed by ministers but is independent of government and free to advise, challenge and offer her own views.

I want all victims to be treated with dignity and respect, kept informed and to get quality services to help them cope and recover. I intend to press for national standards so they are good wherever a victim lives.

Dame Vera Baird

A good listener

The Victims’ Commissioner is here to listen to and represent the views and needs of victims and witnesses.

Our team consults individuals and organisations to understand everyone’s experiences of the criminal justice system. We carry out detailed research into victim services and produce comprehensive reviews that:

  • focus on specific areas, like the Victim Personal Statement, and criminal injuries compensation
  • highlight what is and what isn’t working
  • recommend positive changes aimed at improving the support offered to victims

The Commissioner also monitors how victims’ support agencies are complying with the Victims’ Code and Witness Charter, and encourages good practice.

Principles of the Victims’ Commissioner

The role of Victims’ Commissioner is set down in the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004.

  1. Independence of government and criminal justice agencies.
  2. Inclusivity in representing all victims and witnesses, particularly the most vulnerable members of our community.
  3. Transparency in all of our work, including in the issues the Commissioner raises with policy makers and our priorities for change.
  4. Encouraging responsibility through work with all criminal justice and local agencies to ensure the voices of victims and witnesses are heard and that each organisation takes responsibility for them.
Photo of Dame Vera Baird
Dame Vera Baird meeting voluntary group knitting teddies to comfort troubled children

What the Commissioner can’t do

The Victims’ Commissioner can’t champion individual cases or challenge criminal justice agencies to make different decisions.

For example, the Commissioner can’t ask the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) to overturn a decision to refuse compensation for a victim, or ask the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to make a different charging decision.

However, you can contact a specific criminal justice agency directly if you want to complain about a victims’ service.

The Commissioner also welcomes you to give feedback on justice services. Victims’ insights help to shape our priorities and policy.

Find out more

Read the Victims’ Commissioner strategy.

Read our annual reports.