Why me?’s Recommendations for the Victim’s Code of Practice
The Ministry of Justice has asked organisations like ours to scrutinize and revise the Victim’s Code. We appreciate that a lot of thought has gone into this from the Ministry of Justice’s point of view, with their detailed Victims’ Strategy. However, we have outlined some concerns about the Victims Code proposals.
Here are three key points about the proposed Victim’s Code which we want the Government to take into account:
- The current proposal does not include an entitlement to Restorative Justice, which is a step backwards. Currently only 4% of victims recall being offered Restorative Justice (in cases with a known offender). This means that the vast majority of victims are not made aware of an opportunity which could help them enormously in their recovery. This needs to improve, and removing the entitlement to Restorative Justice from the Victim’s Code risks having the opposite affect.
- We agree that the Code needs to become more accessible for victims. But this should not come at the expense of the number of entitlements which they have. The Code should be written and structured clearly, and tailored to different audiences. It should also include separate guidance alongside the Code, explaining to practitioners when and how offers of Restorative Justice can be made.
- We agree that communication with victims “from the point of charge” is often poor. Victim’s have told us that being provided with information about their case is their top priority, but they don’t know how to get this information – especially between a charging decision and a trial. Having one single point of contact, who is a victim liaison officer, would offer better support to victims.
Read our full submission here: