Fabian Hamilton – 2014 Parliamentary Question to the Ministry of Justice

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Fabian Hamilton on 2014-07-15.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will extend victims’ rights to victims of mentally disordered offenders to be more comparable with those rights afforded to victims in the criminal justice system.

Mike Penning

The Government’s new Victims’ Code, which came into force on 10 December 2013, strengthens the rights of victims of crime, including where the offender is mentally disordered. The Code provides victims with clearer entitlements and better tailors services to individual need. Under the Code, criminal justice agencies must provide enhanced services to victims of the most serious crime; persistently targeted victims; and vulnerable and intimidated victims.

Since 2001, victims of specified sexual and violent offences where the offender receives a sentence of twelve months or more have been offered the Probation Victim Contact Scheme, which enables them to make representations about which licence conditions a prisoner should be subject to on release, and to be informed about key stages of sentence such as release on temporary licence and full release.

The Victim Contact Scheme was extended by legislation to victims of mentally disordered offenders with restrictions in July 2005, and to victims of mentally disordered offenders without restrictions in November 2008.

Since April 2014, there has been a presumption that victims of restricted mentally disordered offenders will be told if they are granted permission for escorted or unescorted leave from hospital for rehabilitative purposes.