New victim law welcomed by police and crime commissioner

Adam Simmonds
Adam Simmonds

The police and crime commissioner who will oversee a force’s new victim and witness service says enshrining the Victims’ Code in law is a ‘big step’.

The government plans to give crime victims legal rights to be kept informed about their case and courts will allow them to provide a personal impact statement.

Northants PCC Adam Simmonds welcomed the announcement and said he is ‘totally committed to putting victims at the heart of the system’ when he launches Voice in October.

He said: “I have always believed help and support should be a legal entitlement for all victims of crime.

“Giving victims legal rights for the first time is a big step towards recognising and demonstrating that victims’ voices and needs do matter.

“It remains a disgrace that, in the 21st century, the proportion of money spent on supporting victims is still minuscule compared with the cost of the justice system as a whole which is built around the people who do the harm in the first place.”

Voice will be the first integrated victim and witness service in the country and will provide the necessary support, advice and information for victims and their families from start to finish.

Mr Simmonds is also working to increase opportunities for victims to meet offenders to show the impact of their actions directly from those they have harmed.

He said: “This progress towards giving victims a voice in court by law will help us all to increase our understanding of the victim experience and not allow such opportunities to be at the whim of court officials.”

The proposed law will be subject to a bill in the next parliament.