https://mojdigital.blog.gov.uk/2013/04/16/victims-code/

New Victims' Code

Yesterday we held a public event on a new Code of Practice for Victims of Crime which you can download here.

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?

You can comment on this post, reply to the formal consultation, or attend the next public event in Leeds on 30 April by emailing partners@justice.gsi.gov.uk.

6 comments

  1. Comment by Helen Toumazos posted on

    I work as the Victim Liaison Officer at the Wandsworth YOT and have major concerns about the absence of Victim Personal Statements. These are essential in the completion of Pre Sentence Reports for the courts and to adequately address the impact of an offence when the Referral Panel meets. Sadly I am aware that the police have many requirements placed upon them in an ever changing work climate and their finite resources are often stretched to capacity. I feel there needs to be more direction regarding how these statements are to be obtained as I am aware that this is a met wide issue.

    Reply
    • Replies to Helen Toumazos>

      Comment by Tim Charlton posted on

      Thank you for your response which we will consider as part of our analysis. As well as including the VPS in the revised Code, we will encourage agencies to produce operational guidance on fulfilling their duties under the Code and will consider refreshing existing guidance on the VPS.

      Reply
  2. Comment by Colin Lomas posted on

    Will there be a separate code and support mechanism for the repeat victims of ASB where no crime is committed. These are often the most vulnerable, disadvantaged and targetted section of the community and often those who get the least help or support

    Reply
    • Replies to Colin Lomas>

      Comment by Tim Charlton posted on

      Thanks Colin. The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 does not provide a legal basis for victims of anti-social behaviour to receive services under the Victims' Code. The Victims' Code is made under this Act of Parliament and covers victims of crime. However, the new Code does identify “the most persistently targeted" as one of the three groups of victims most in need. Some persistently targeted victims of crime may also be victims of anti-social behaviour and would be eligible for enhanced services under the Code.

      Reply
  3. Comment by Avril Child posted on

    I believe that the victims code should be given to a victim, or victims family straight away so the knowledge of the processes in how they will/should be treated is readily available.

    Reply
    • Replies to Avril Child>

      Comment by Tim Charlton posted on

      Thanks for your response Avril. We agree that it is very important for the success of the new Victims' Code to improve awareness of the Code amongst victims. As part of our consultation, we are considering how to most effectively promote and communicate the Code to victims. We are very keen to receive ideas from victims and from organisations working with them about how to make the new Code more accessible.

      Reply

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