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New Victims’ Code of Practice Published

New Victims' Code of Practice Published

The Ministry of Justice have published a simplified and updated Victims’ Code alongside the government response to its consultation: ‘Improving the Victims’ Code’.

The new Code comes into force on 1st April 2021 and includes 12 overarching rights to ensure that victims understand and are aware of the level of service they can expect to receive. 

  1. To be able to understand and be understood
  2. To have details of the crime recorded without unjustified delay
  3. To be provided with information when reporting a crime
  4. To be referred to services that support victims and have services and support tailored to your needs
  5. To be provided with information about compensation
  6. To be provided with information about the investigation and prosecution
  7. To make a Victim Personal Statement
  8. To be given information about the trial, trial process and your role as a witness
  9. To be given information about the outcome of the case and any appeals
  10. To be paid expenses and have property returned 
  11. To be given information about the offender following a conviction
  12. To make a complaint about your Rights not being met

Dame Vera Baird QC, Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales said:

“I welcome the government’s new, simplified Victims’ Code. These 12 rights are well set out and should provide some much-needed clarity for victims and victims’ services. I’m also pleased to see the government has taken on board many of my suggestions to improve the Code.

This new Victims’ Code represents a positive step forward for victims. However, until these ‘rights’ have legal force, this new Code is not the revolution in victims’ rights that we need. As recently as 2018, only 20% of victims with experience of the criminal justice system had heard of the Victims’ Code and its entitlements. There is also currently no mechanism to hold agencies to account in their delivery of these services. Until such a time as there is, the Code’s entitlements cannot really be considered ‘rights’ in any meaningful sense.

We all want a system which delivers justice and the announcement of this revised Code, with its limitations, is to be welcomed as an important step in the right direction. There is much work to do to raise awareness of and compliance with the Code. I look forward to hearing the government’s proposals for a Victims’ Law and to engaging further with the Ministry of Justice on how the Code can be promoted and how agencies can be effectively held to account for delivering it.”

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