A consultation launched on 17 July aims to strengthen the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime (Victims’ Code) – a statutory document which sets out the minimum level of service victims can expect from criminal justice agencies, including the police and courts.
Under the code, all victims of crime – whether they choose to report it or not – are entitled to a range of support and information to help them cope and as far as possible recover from its effects.
However, victims and groups representing them felt that the code’s complexity and inconsistencies in the way it is applied across the country mean that some victims are missing out on the support they are entitled to.
For example, in recent years only 15% of victims said they were given the opportunity by police to make a Victim Personal Statement (VPS), despite it being one of the Code’s key entitlements. In addition, 69% of victims choose not to report their allegations, and so may not be aware of their rights under the Victims’ Code.
Ministers are therefore seeking views from victims, charities, criminal justice agencies and anyone with an interest in the issue on how best to raise awareness, as well as making the Code clear and accessible so that it better meets victims’ needs.