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A consultation into a new ‘Victims’ Law’ has been launched and will run until 3 February 2022. The proposed Bill is designed to better support victims during the criminal justice process.
A victim is anyone who has suffered harm because of a criminal offence. This includes those who have been physically, mentally, emotionally or financially harmed. It also covers families of those who have died because of a criminal offence.
If you have been accused of a criminal offence, contact us now at Ashmans Solicitors. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
What does the consultation propose?
The consultation covers five key issues:
- What victims should expect
- Performance and accountability
- The Victim Surcharge
- Community-based support services
- Improved advocacy support
What victims should expect
Victims will be told what to expect from the police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the courts. New legalisation will be introduced to increase victims’ voices in the system. This will help to improve support and make agencies more accountable for delivering that support.
Performance and accountability
The consultation is considering whether performance could be improved through inspection regimes and increasing the role of Police and Crime Commissioners. Quarterly performance scorecards will also be issued across the entire system. This will hold agencies to account.
The Victim Surcharge
It has been suggested that the Victim Surcharge should be increased. This is the penalty imposed following a guilty verdict. The money funds victim support services. The proposal is to raise the rate to between £26 and £226.
Community-based support services
The government wishes to increase funding for community-based support services for victims. There are also calls for tailored or specialised services, including for victims of different ages and of different crimes.
Improved advocacy support
The consultation is investigating how further action could support professional advocates for adults and child victims of ‘hidden-harm crimes’. They will also examine how advocates work with other agencies to provide a joined-up service.
If victims do not receive the right level of support, they will be entitled to redress. It is hoped this will not be necessary, especially as an extra £2.2bn will be spent on supporting victims by 2024/2025.
What happens next?
The consultation runs until 3 February 2022. The government will then consider the findings and draw up draft legislation. This must work its way through Parliament, so it will be many months before a new ‘Victims’ Law’ is introduced.
Have you been charge with a criminal offence?
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