We should all feel safe in our communities, and victims of crime must have confidence that they will receive timely and effective justice. However, two-fifths of London’s victims currently think that the criminal justice system fails to provide them the support that they need and over a quarter feel that the views of victims and witnesses are not taken into account. MOPAC are determined to improve services so that every victim is treated with dignity and respect.
MOPAC will assume responsibility for victims services in London from October 2014 and have commissioned Baroness Helen Newlove, the Victims' Commissioner, to lead a comprehensive independent review of victims’ experiences to inform what MOPAC does. The terms of reference for this review are available here.
The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime
In October 2103, the Government has published the new Code of Practice for Victims of Crime. This Code sets out the services to be provided to victims of criminal conduct by criminal justice organisations in England and Wales. Below is a list of key entitlements that victims of crime are entitled to under the Code. For more information, and to read the full Code, please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/253503/code-of-practice-victims-of-crime-oct13.pdf.
If you are a victim of crime you are entitled to:
- An enhanced service if you are a victim of serious crime, a persistently targeted victim or a vulnerable or intimidated victim;
- A needs assessment to help work out what support you need;
- Information on what to expect from the criminal justice system;
- Be referred to organisations supporting victims of crime;
- Be informed about the police investigation, such as if a suspect is arrested and charged and any bail conditions imposed;
- Make a Victim Personal Statement (VPS) to explain how the crime affected you;
- Read your VPS aloud or have it read aloud on your behalf, subject to the views of the court, if a defendant is found guilty;
- Be informed if the suspect is to be prosecuted or not or given an out of court disposal;
- Be informed about how you can seek a review of CPS decisions not to prosecute, to discontinue or offer no evidence in all proceedings;
- Be informed of the time, date and location and outcome of any court hearings;
- Be informed if you need to give evidence in court, what to expect and discuss what help and support you might need with the Witness Care Unit;
- Arrange a court familiarisation visit and enter the court through a different entrance from the suspect and sit in a separate waiting are where possible;
- Meet the CPS Prosecutor and ask him or her questions about the court process;
- Be informed of any appeal against the offender’s conviction or sentence;
- To opt in to the Victim Contact Scheme (VCS) if the offender is sentenced to 12 months or more for a specified violent or sexual offence;
- If you opt in to the VCS to:
- make a VPS for consideration by the Parole Board if the offender is considered for release or transfer and apply to the Parole Board to read it out at the hearing;
- make representations about the conditions attached to the offender’s licence on release and be informed about any licence conditions relating to you;
- Apply for compensation under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme;
- Receive information about Restorative Justice and how you can take part;
- Make a complaint if you do not receive the information and services you are entitled to, and to receive a full response from the relevant service provider.
You can make a complaint about the services you have received as a victim of crime by following the procedure outlined from page 30 of the Code. MOPAC is not able to consider complaints, but please email us at email@example.com if you have any other feedback or queries on the Code.