The Government has announced a new set of rights for victims of crime in a bid to simplify and boost the support they receive from the police, courts and other criminal justice agencies.
A six-week consultation has been launched on a revised victim’s code, which sets out the minimum level of information and service victims can expect from criminal justice agencies. It features 12 overarching rights that are clear, concise and easy to understand.
For the first time, eligible victims will be referred to the Victim Contact Scheme, which provides vital updates on offenders as they serve their sentences, including their potential release from prison.
Victims will also be given greater flexibility over how and when a Victim Personal Statement (VPS) can be made, in a move designed to account for the fact that many victims of crime do not realise the immediate impact. They will also be able to request a copy of their VPS to refer to in future.
There will also be new rights for victims of mentally disordered offenders, allowing them access to a Victim Liaison Officer to provide information on an offender’s management and potential release from hospital and practical information about how victims can access services provided by the National Health Service (NHS).
The consultation will pave the way for a Victims’ Law, which will underpin victims’ rights in legislation and further reinforce the support offered from the criminal justice system.
Justice Minister Alex Chalk MP said: “Simplifying the Victims’ Code is a vital step in our efforts to rebuild confidence in the criminal justice system. It will make the process less daunting and provide victims with the information and support they need to recover from crime.
“We are also going further to strengthen victims’ rights by bringing through a Victims’ Law to ensure they are supported at every stage of the justice system.”