The Victim Code of Practice can be downloaded from the Ministry of Justice website
Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner, Barry Coppinger, is supporting the changes to the Victims Code of Practice, which is published by the Ministry of Justice next month.
The Code applies to all victims of crime and sets out the services to be provided to victims in England and Wales by Criminal Justice Agencies. It could set the wheels in motion for a change in legislation.
Under the new Code, victims are able to choose to explain to the court and offender how a crime has affected them by reading out a Victim Personal Statement.
This will then be taken into account by judges when determining the sentence offenders receive.
Barry Coppinger, Police and Crime Commissioner said: “Ensuring a better deal for victims and witnesses is one of my key priorities and the revised code is a first step in ensuring this.
“I am extremely supportive of Victim Personal Statements and would like to see them more widely used, enabling us to have a process that puts victims at the heart of the local criminal justice system and allowing their voices to be heard.
“As part of my commitment to ensuring a better deal for victims and witnesses, I have established a Victims’ Strategic Planning Group which is representative of services from across Cleveland.”
Other revisions to the Code include:
- Ensuring enhanced support for victims of the most serious crimes, persistently targeted victims or the most vulnerable/intimidated;
- Providing extra support to victims of stalking, domestic abuse, terrorism and families bereaved by violent crime;
- Ensuring all victims are automatically referred to victims’ services by the Police so that all victims receive consistent and immediate access to support services
- Giving victims a clearer means of redress if they are not given the support they deserve
- Having a section written for young people and their parents or guardians so they can understand and take ownership of their journey through the Criminal Justice System, and
- For the first time, businesses will be able to have their say by writing an Impact Statement to explain to the court how a crime has affected them.
More information on the Code and relevant consultation documents can be found on the Ministry of Justice website at: https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/code-victims-crime
The Victims Code comes into effect from December 2013.
Posted on Monday 4th November 2013