Ministry of Justice
Criminals made to pay more to fund victim support
Criminals will be forced to make a greater financial contribution towards victim support services under new legislation unveiled by the government today (18 March 2020).
- 5 per cent increase to Victim Surcharge will raise up to £2 million extra annually
- offenders to take greater responsibility for the cost of supporting victims
- further increases to be consulted on
Ministers will increase the Victim Surcharge by 5 per cent. The surcharge is imposed by courts on all offenders to ensure they hold some responsibility towards the cost of supporting victims.
It will see up to £2 million extra per year go to vital services for victims, such as rape support centres and the National Homicide Service.
Today’s announcement follows a pledge to raise the surcharge by 25 per cent, which will be considered as part of an upcoming consultation on a Victims’ Law.
Justice Minister Alex Chalk MP said:
It is right that offenders should do more to repair the harm caused by their crimes.
That is why we are raising the surcharge and will consult on further increases to ensure criminals take greater responsibility for the cost of supporting victims.
This is only one part of our ongoing work improve support at every stage of the justice system, including by strengthening victims’ rights through a Victims’ Law.
Adult criminals and organisations currently pay between £21 and £181 under the Victim Surcharge. This will increase to a maximum of £190 depending on the sentence handed down.
This builds on recent government action to transform the support offered to victims, including by consulting on a new Victims’ Code which sets out the minimum level of information and service victims can expect from criminal justice agencies.
Notes to Editors
- The Victim Surcharge is not a fine, but a separate charge courts must impose on all offenders to ensure they hold some responsibility towards the cost of supporting victims.
- Revenue from the Surcharge contributes to the Victim and Witness Budget which we use to grant fund Police and Crime Commissioners, who commission local support services for victims. It also funds nationally commissioned support such as: Rape Support centres across England and Wales, the Court Based Witness Service and the National Homicide Service.
- We project the 5% increase to raise an between £1 million and £2 million a year to help fund victim support victims.
- It will see offenders pay between £1 to £9 extra, depending on their sentence.
- Estimates on how much increases to the Victim Surcharge could make are based on no change in future court demand or shift in offence mix proceeded against.
- A 25 per cent increase based on current levels would could see £7 million extra a year for victim support services.
- A Statutory Instrument will come into effect in relation to offences committed on or after 14 April.
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