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Mike Penning - Ministry of Justice

Today the Government published a new Code of Practice for Victims of Crime (the Victims' Code). The Victims Code sets out how victims must be treated by the criminal justice system.

The Coalition Government updated the Victims Code to give victims clear entitlements. This government is committed to making sure that victims are recognised and treated in a respectful and sensitive manner. We are working to implement Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 (the Directive) by 16 November. The Victims Code is the primary means through which we are implementing the Directive.

We consulted from 16 July to 16 August on some technical changes to the Code required to comply with the Directives minimum standards. In some respects we already go much further, such as enhanced entitlements for victims of the most serious crimes; a victims right to make a personal statement and to ask to read it in court; and special measures to help vulnerable witnesses to give their best evidence in and out of court. We intend to do even more. We have committed to introduce measures to increase further the rights of victims of crime and we will publish more detail in due course.

We received 1,875 responses to the consultation, which we have carefully considered. As a result, we are proceeding as planned with the three main changes on which we consulted.

The first main change broadens the definition of a victim under the Code, so that victims of all criminal offences are entitled to receive support and information, not just victims of the more serious criminal offences that are notifiable under the National Crime Recording Standards.

The second main change means that victims are entitled to receive support and information services from relevant investigative and prosecutorial organisations, not just the police and Crown Prosecution Service.

The third main change makes sure that a victim who reports a crime receives a written acknowledgment which states the basic elements of the criminal offence.

We have also made smaller changes to the Code. The majority of these either codify what is already happening in practice or require small adjustments to existing policy or practice.

A statutory instrument will be laid by 26 October which will bring the revised code into force on 16 November.

Copies of the new Victims' Code are available in the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office. The Government response to the consultation has been deposited in the libraries of both Houses. More information on the Victims Code and relevant consultation documents can be found on the Ministry of Justice website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/revising-the-victims-code

 


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