Philip Davies – 2014 Parliamentary Question to the Ministry of Justice

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Philip Davies on 2014-05-06.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what progress he has made implementing the recommendations of Getting It Right for Victims and Witnesses, Cm 8288, published in January 2012; and if he will make a statement.

Damian Green

We have made great progress in implementing all recommendations from the ‘Getting it right for victims and witnesses’ consultation.

  • From 1st October this year the majority of support services for victims of crime will be commissioned locally by PCCs, who are best placed to understand the needs of victims in their community. MoJ are nationally commissioning a number of services for victims and witnesses, specifically the Homicide Service, the court based witness service and the rape support fund, as well as some national helplines for victims.
  • Support services, whether commissioned locally or nationally, will for the first time be focused on outcomes, supporting victims to cope with the immediate impacts of crime, and as far as is possible, help them to recover.
  • The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime came into force on 10 December 2013. The Code gives victims of crime clearer entitlements from the criminal justice system and tailors services to individual need so they get the right support at the right time. It also includes a section dedicated to people under 18, their parents and guardians and a separate chapter for businesses.
  • We wanted to give victims a stronger voice in the criminal justice system. That is why the new Victims’ Code entitles victims to make a Victim Personal Statement to leave the in no doubt about the impact of their crime on the victim. The Code now includes an improved complaints process.
  • The Government has also published the Witness Charter alongside the Victims’ Code, which demonstrates our commitment to improving all witnesses’ experience of the criminal justice system.
  • We are currently piloting pre-trial cross-examination in Leeds, Liverpool and Kingston–upon–Thames Crown Courts, allowing vulnerable witnesses to give evidence in advance and sparing them from facing questioning during the trial.
  • We reformed the Victim Surcharge in October 2012 to increase fines and extend it to a wider range of cases to ensure more offenders pay towards the cost of victims’ services. Penalty Notices for Disorder (PNDs) were increased from 1 July 2013 for the same aim. A clause included in the ASB, Crime and Policing Act 2014 will prevent offenders sentenced in the magistrates’ courts from discharging the Surcharge as additional days in custody.
  • We implemented a revised Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme in November 2012 that focuses on seriously injured victims of serious crime.
  • More money than ever before will be available for services to support victims of crime, with a potential total budget of up to £100m, double MOJ’s current spending of around £50m.