Mayor appoints first Victims Commissioner for London
· A £47m investment into services for victims of crime in the capital over three years.
· Fulfilling a key Mayoral manifesto commitment, the London’s Victims Commissioner will provide survivors with a voice, ensuring that their needs are met by services in the capital.
· Claire Waxman founded campaign group Voice4Victims in 2013 to strengthen victims’ rights by improving legislation and policies.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has appointed Claire Waxman as the first Victims Commissioner for London to help dramatically improve the experience of victims of crime in the capital, alongside a three-year £47m investment in services to better support them.
Claire Waxman brings a wealth of personal insight and expertise to the role. She was a victim of crime for 12 years, during which time she founded campaign group Voice4Victims to fight for improved legislation and support for victims. She takes up the post, one of the Mayor’s manifesto commitments, this week following a nationwide search. Working with victims, central government, the Met Police, Crown Prosecution Service and the Ministry of Justice, Ms Waxman will act on victims’ behalf, ensure their voices are heard and develop ways to improve their experience of the criminal justice system and ability to recover.
Last year, there were 734,190 victims of crime in London recorded by the Met, but only 10 per cent of those referred for further support took up the offer.* With around half of trials classed as ineffective due to the victim or witness not attending or withdrawing from the process, Sadiq Khan has put improving support for victims at the core of his police and crime plan, with the aim of increasing the number of effective trials and bringing more criminals to justice.
The Mayor’s investment of £47 million into victims’ services across the capital over three years marks a £6 million increase on the budget allocated to these services in the previous Police and Crime Plan. For the first time, this funding, previously provided on an annual basis, has been allocated for three years to provide longer-term support. Sadiq’s investment over the rest of his Mayoral term will help improve current work and commission new services, including:
· Working to develop a collaborative ‘one-service’ approach which removes the need for a victim to deal with a confusing number of different agencies. This approach would bring together the capital’s existing victim and witness services to provide victims with a dedicated caseworker who will offer consistent guidance, information and advocacy.
· A new service for young Londoners responding to changing needs, in areas including knife crime and child sexual exploitation.
· Improved support for victims of fraud and cybercrime.
· Independent Domestic Violence Advocates (IDVAs) to help keep victims safe from harm.
· Sustaining MOPAC’s hate crime victim advocates scheme
Claire Waxman will help develop the projects receiving this funding, as well as reviewing current services.
The change in funding delivery will allow flexibility for the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) to respond to changing demands, including the developing challenges of hate crime and cyber-crime , and deliver the Mayor’s commitments to do more in areas including restorative justice.
Sadiq Khan said: “Crime can have a profound and lasting impact on victims, and it is essential that they are able to access the right support to help them recover. As London’s first Victims Commissioner, Claire Waxman will stand up for survivors of crime across the capital, making sure their voices are heard and that their needs are at the heart of our policing and criminal services. By investing in these services, we can help ensure victims have faith and confidence in our criminal justice system, and that they get the support they need to move on.”
Claire Waxman will support the development and delivery of the Mayor’s Police and Crime Plan, working to ensure all London partners meet their statutory responsibilities towards victims, and improve understanding of victim’s needs, tackling discriminatory behaviour and putting specialist training in place. Other priorities include working to strengthen restraining and protective orders and tackling hate crime.
Claire Waxman, Victims Commissioner for London, said: “Becoming London’s first Victims’ Commissioner is an honour. Having been at the fore-front of championing victims’ rights along with having first-hand experience of the victim’s journey for many years, I welcome this opportunity to serve London in this vital role. Victims can struggle to access a fair, inclusive justice system and timely and effective support. These barriers can have a detrimental impact on their lives, delaying their recovery. As Victims' Commissioner for London, I want to ensure that no victim is left isolated nor unsupported and that the justice system and services are strengthened to offer victims a more compassionate, efficient and supportive experience which will help them to become survivors.”
The Victims Commissioner for London will complement the national role, currently filled by Baroness Newlove and created in 2010 to cover England and Wales.
Notes to editors
*Ministry of Justice 2015/16 data. Of the 301,611 victims referred to Victim Support , only 10 per cent took up the offer.
1. The recruitment campaign was undertaken by Green Park Executive Search Limited.
2. The Victims Commissioner is appointed for a term of three years
3. £47,110,918 has been ring-fenced, drawn from the projected Ministry of Justice Victims’ Grant (£29,092,663) and MOPAC’s budget (£18,018,255) over three financial years (2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20)
4. This represents a £6 million (15 per cent) increase over the period of this Mayoral term, on the previous budget allocated to victims’ services in the previous Police and Crime Plan (2013-16).
5. Sadiq Khan’s Police and Crime Plan (2017-21) can be read here: https://www.london.gov.uk/mopac-publications/police-and-crime-plan-2017-2021
6. Victim Support runs victim services across Greater London, including for those affected by terrorism. The charity provides a specialist supportline, funded by MOPAC, which is free to call and operated 24/7. The supportline number is 08 08 16 89 111 and more details can be found at victimsupport.org.uk. Calls are dealt with by trained counsellors who can offer support and also refer callers to other help, from trauma counselling to assistance with travel to hospital visits.