Russell Webster - Work with Offenders
Work with offenders looks at the detail of the new code of practice for victims
Today, April 1st, the new Victims’ Code comes into force across England and Wales. The Code sets out the minimum level of service victims can expect from criminal justice agencies such as the police and courts, whether they choose to report the crime or not.
The Code brings is structured into 12 overarching rights for victims and aims to be e straightforward, concise and easy to understand. For each right, the code outlines the minimum level of information and service victims can expect at every stage of the justice process. The headline rights include:
The implementation of the Code is accompanied by a wealth of media resources to try to ensure that victims of crime are aware of the service they should now receive. In addition to a formal 43-page Code of Practice, there is also a booklet and website detailing the support victims should receive as well as additional materials for young victims of crime and an easy read version for those with difficulties readings. There are also a range of posters like the one reproduced below.
Although the Code has been welcomed by a wide range of victims’ organisations as well as other commentators in the criminal justice system, there was widespread concern that the Code merely sets out the standards that victims of crime should receive and does not have any enforcement mechanism.
However, these concerns have been mainly allayed by the Government in recent months when it announced that it will be launching a consultation for a Victims’ Law later this year. The Law, if passed, would enshrine the rights of victims in law, underpinning their rights in legislation and therefore ensuring that all agencies in the criminal justice system are accountable for delivering them.