The Prisoners Earnings Act 1996 (PEA) was brought into force on the 26th September 2011.
It formed part of the Government’s commitment to ensure more of the cost of supporting victims fell to offenders.
At the time of implementation in 2011, Ministers decided that all the funds generated by deductions, and retained by the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), should be paid to a voluntary organisation to support victims, and decided that Victim Support should receive all of the money collected. This is the current arrangement.
Since the end of 2011/12 Victim Support has received all revenue from the PEA. Victim Support used the funding to provide what they refer to as commissioned services.
Access to a commissioned service is considered as part of the victim’s needs assessment. Requests are decided by the Victim Care Unit (VCU) manager who had responsibility for the local budget.
In 2014/15 this funding was devolved to PCCs, who are responsible for commissioning victim referral services locally.
The MOJ now confirms that the PEA funding will be included in the PCC grant agreements for 2015/2016 and 2016/17.
As a result of these changes, a review has taken place in respect of the need for additional funding to be made available to Victim Care and Advice Service (VCAS.)
VCAS helps victims cope with the immediate impact of crime and their subsequent recovery. Funding will only be used for the followings:
- Providing target hardening measures i.e. repairs, window locks, door security etc. to improve security in the home.
- Providing crime prevention devices i.e. personal attack alarms etc. to provide reassurance when outside the home.
- Assisting with essential transport and travel costs.
- Covering the cost of translation when supporting victims who have difficulty speaking and understanding English.
- Providing support for young victims of crime. This may be to purchase items that were needed for them to engage with activities aimed at reducing the risk of repeat victimisation and aiding their recovery.
- Providing therapeutic support/counselling that would not otherwise be available.
- Supporting emergency accommodation and if necessary assist with some costs towards removals.
- Assisting in cleaning premises i.e. following a burglary or an assault in the home.
- Subsistence to cover costs connected with engagement and support for victims