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Victim services

Catch22 responds to Ministry of Justice consultation on “Delivering justice for victims”

The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, taken from across the River Thames. Overlaid is text that reads: "Consultation Response".

The Ministry of Justice opened a consultation, “Delivering justice for victims”, in order to understand how victims can be treated and supported better through the criminal justice system. This consultation will pave the way to passing the ‘Victims’ Law’ – a bill that hopes to drastically improve victims’ experiences of the system, building on the rights laid out under the Victims’ Code.

Every year, one in five people in the UK will become the victim of a crime. The repercussions of a crime can have life-long repercussions on the victim, psychologically, physically, and financially. Given how many of us have been or could be affected by crime, our criminal justice system needs to be highly effective and supportive in delivering justice to victims. However, as it stands, many victims feel let down by the system, with no confidence in its capacity to support them in the journey to receiving justice.

Catch22 has experience in providing emotional and practical support in the home and community for victims of crime along with crime prevention advice. We deliver a range of victim services including restorative justice, domestic abuse, substance misuse and gangs. We use this experience to inform the development of our victim services. We develop innovative and localised services with strong partnerships to meet the needs of victims in each area.

From our experience, it is clear that victims are currently not at the heart of the criminal justice system, causing their disengagement and lack of faith in the process. This issue is closely tied to the misunderstood identity of a victim, with many being unaware of their rights and the resources out there to support them. We need to ensure the system is more victim-centric and offers greater transparency from start to finish, to guarantee their voices are heard and to better support them through a process that can be emotionally challenging.

Core recommendations

  • All services throughout the justice system, from start to finish, are victim-centric. The Victim Code needs to be embedded in training for police and support services to ensure that the victim is placed first
  • Greater clarity on the ‘identity’ of a victim and ensure the victim understands the rights they are entitled to under the Victim Code
  • Better integrating systems to enable information sharing between services
  • Better communication and transparency with the victim to ensure that they are included in every step of the justice process, and to avoid the process being retraumatising for the victim.
  • A more bespoke approach to how victims are treated – there currently is a one-size-fits-all approach which isn’t fit for purpose