The code sets out what support victims should get from different organisations such as the police and the courts.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling and Victims Minister Helen Grant heard from victims groups and criminal justice practitioners on how the government can improve the Code and services for victims.
The new Code should give victims clearer information about the support they’re entitled to. It will also set out how services will be tailored to the needs of different victims.
Most thought the new Code was a big improvement, especially a new flow chart explaining the journey through the criminal justice system.
Some suggested that leaflets or summary cards for specific groups, like children or young people, would be easier for victims to read.
We asked whether the entitlements and duties as set out in the revised Code were the right ones. Most were positive that the new Code has been written for victims and that we are targeting resources at the groups most in need:
- victims of the most serious crime
- persistently targeted victims
- vulnerable or intimidated victims.
However, many felt that the way these groups are defined could be clearer. They also said that agencies should flag any victims falling within these groups so they are offered the right level of service.
We discussed how to make sure the new Code is communicated effectively. Those at the meeting believed that educating young people about the Code was really important, perhaps during Personal Social Development lessons at school on community safety. Others suggested that we could develop a phone app to help break up the Code into ‘bite-size’ sections.
We also asked how we could improve the current complaints process. Many raised concerns that victims have to go through their MP to make a complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Ombudsman. This might put victims off, particularly if they have to give sensitive information to their MP. Some suggested that complaints could be dealt with by a dedicated victims’ ombudsman or by Police and Crime Commissioners.
Others said that improving performance management within criminal justice agencies was the best way to ensure victims get the services they need.
We’re keen to find out your views, on the Code and on any of the above suggestions. Do you think the entitlements in the revised Code are easy for victims to understand? How do you think we could improve the complaints process? How can we make sure the Code is communicated effectively?