New set of rights for victims of crime

5 Mar 2020 02:42 PM

Updated Victims’ Code to simplify and boost support.

Victims of crime will have clearer rights regarding the support they should receive from the police, courts and other criminal justice agencies as a new Victims’ Code is published today (5 March 2020).

A six-week consultation seeks views on a revised Code, which sets out the minimum level of information and service victims can expect from criminal justice agencies. It brings together 12 overarching rights that are clear, concise and easy to understand.

For the first time, eligible victims will be automatically referred to the Victim Contact Scheme, which gives vital updates on offenders as they serve their sentence, including their potential release from prison.

The new Code will also give victims greater flexibility over when and how a Victim Personal Statement (VPS) can be made – recognising that for many the impact of the crime may not be immediately apparent. Victims will also be able to request a copy of their VPS for them to refer to in future.

Today’s 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.

And we are going further to strengthen victims’ rights by bringing through a Victims’ Law to ensure they are supported at every stage of the justice system.

Victims’ Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird, says:

The Victims Code needs to deliver on what victims need, if they are to have confidence in the justice system and to feel positively engaged, all of which is essential if they are to cope with the impact of crime and recover from it.

But we can only get it right if we hear from victims themselves, using their own lived experience to inform us on what works and what doesn’t. Therefore I am calling on the government, the media and criminal justice agencies to do all they can to promote this consultation. In doing so, they can stimulate a national conversation on how society should treat victims of crime and give them the support they need.

Proposals set out in the new Code include:

Notes to Editors