Ministry of Justice
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PM, Claire Ward and Sara Payne at launch of victims report

Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Justice Minister Claire Ward joined Victims' Champion Sara Payne at the launch of her victims report at a community project in Cheshire.

Gordon Brown and Claire Ward met with Ms Payne and community members of a group that provides support to victims of antisocial behaviour at the Ditton Community Centre in Widnes, Halton on Thursday 5 November 2009.

The Compass Victim and Witness Support Service provides independent and confidential support to residents experiencing antisocial behavour.

The visit was organised to coincide with the publication of Sara Payne's independent report, Redefining justice: addressing the individual needs of victims and witnesses.

Wecoming the publication of the report, Justice Minister Claire Ward said:

‘It is precisely because we want to keep up momentum in making improvements for victims that we appointed Sara Payne as Victims' Champion – to continue to hear the direct experience of victims and witnesses and to make proposals for further reform. There have been substantial improvements to services and support to victims, as Sara herself has acknowledged, but there is more to do and more we want to do.

‘We have recently announced the first national Victims Service, which will provide one-to-one support to those who have lost loved ones as a result of murder or manslaughter. We have also recently announced a new helpline that will provide free legal advice to bereaved families. We have also made recent progress in extending Victim Support's Witness Service to victims of antisocial behaviour so that they can get the same level of support in the magistrates courts as victims of crime.

‘We are proud of what we have achieved, but realise there is more work to be done and Sara Payne's recommendations will help us do this.’

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