Protection of victims – recent developments
There have been two important developments relating to the treatment of victims in the criminal justice system in recent months.
First, in January the Government announced the creation of the National Victims’ Service. According to the Government, this is designed to guarantee all victims of crime and anti-social behaviour referred by the police more comprehensive and dedicated support, giving victims a louder voice in court through the introduction of the victim personal statement, trebling the funding available for victims’ services in the voluntary sector and introducing special measures which make it easier for vulnerable witnesses to give evidence.
Second, in March 2010, the Government announced the appointment of a Victims’ Commissioner, whose role will include:
- working across the criminal justice system to improve the support for victims and witnesses, including victims of anti-social behaviour
- chairing the new Victims Advisory Panel and working with local and national victims groups to make sure the voice of victims is fed-back to and impacts directly on Government policy
- reviewing the code of practice for victims of crime, which provides a guarantee to victims of crime of the level of service they are entitled to.
The first Commissioner is Louise Casey, already well known for her work relating to anti-social behaviour.