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Victims’ Commissioner statement on joint inspectorate report: Meeting the needs of victims in the criminal justice system

Date:8 JAN 2024
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The criminal justice system is not providing the highest quality service to many victims and does not always invest the time and attention needed in cases, a new report has found, says the Victims Commissioner.

Baroness Newlove, the Victims Commissioner for England and Wales says: "Complying with the Victims’ Code must go beyond simple box-ticking – it’s about understanding what victims need, making sure their rights are delivered, and supporting them through the whole criminal justice process.

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She continues: "I welcome this important joint inspection of treatment of victims in the criminal justice system. It tells us police, prosecutors and probation are prioritising process over helping victims. It re-enforces my own view that all too often our criminal justice system hits the target but misses the point.

The report highlights the importance of effective scrutiny, ensuring practitioners have a better understanding of what victims need and improved communication across the different agencies. I agree with all these findings.

The government’s Victims and Prisoners Bill gives us the opportunity to change all of this. It can be a real game-changer. However, it needs strengthening. This Bill must put in place robust and independent scrutiny, more transparency and proper accountability. Without this, I fear we will simply not address the shortcomings highlighted by the Inspectors.

I welcome the inspectorates’ sensible recommendations. The government and Parliament must make sure the Victims and Prisoners Bill meets the challenge and becomes a catalyst for change."