Reforms to the Victims’Code of Practice have been welcomed by Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles.
A revised Code of Practice was unveiled by the Ministry of Justice earlier today, highlighting some major improvements to support victims of crime.
The Commissioner said: “The new Code is a very positive move forward. I committed from the outset to improve the support provided to victims and witnesses and I believe that this new Code of Practice will provide the framework by which agencies will be able to deliver a more balanced service.
“Victims must be at the heart of everything we do; we need to put their needs first, second and third. We must listen to their views so that their experiences can help improve the ways in which services are delivered to others unfortunate enough to suffer from criminal activities.
“I’m also delighted to see that, amongst other changes, someone who has been a victim of crime will now have their right to make a personal statement on the impact that the incident has had on their lives highlighted to them, much earlier in the criminal justice process. While this right has been there for some time I don’t believe many people are aware of it.
“The successful application of the Code will clearly require the support of the practitioners in the criminal justice system but I believe that this goes a long way to recognising that the needs of the victim are paramount. It has my full support.”
Key changes to the previous code include:
- Strengthening the voice of the victim by putting the Victim Personal Statement under a statutory Code for the first time and giving an entitlement to victims to choose whether they would like to read their statement aloud in court or to have it read aloud on their behalf if the defendant is found guilty.
- Information on Restorative Justice for victims of adult offenders for the first time. This includes a duty on criminal justice agencies to meet existing quality standards and put in place robust safeguards to ensure repeat victimisation does not occur.
- An improved complaints process so that victims are better able to hold criminal justice agencies to account if things go wrong.
- A new dedicated section for victims under 18 and their parents and guardians written in an accessible way.
- A separate chapter for businesses and an opportunity for businesses of all sizes to make an impact statement so that their voice is fully heard.
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Posted on Tuesday 29th October 2013