Support for Victims of Crime in Court

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice – in the House of Commons on 8th October 2019.

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Photo of Andrew Griffiths Andrew Griffiths Conservative, Burton

What steps he is taking to ensure the provision of adequate support for victims of crime in court.

Photo of Wendy Morton Wendy Morton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

The Government are prioritising support for victims through the criminal justice system and beyond, and we are committed to tackling poor criminal justice outcomes for them. Just last month, my right hon. Friend the Lord Chancellor and I took part in a roundtable at Downing Street to discuss support for victims of rape. Victims and stakeholders highlighted the importance of support in their engagement with the criminal justice system.

Photo of Andrew Griffiths Andrew Griffiths Conservative, Burton

The Minister will be aware that the recent consultation on the code of practice for victims of crime has recently closed, and she will be considering representations. Will she look closely at the greater use of criminal compensation orders for the victims of child sexual abuse? They are used in a woefully small number of cases, so vulnerable people have to re-live the trauma either through a private prosecution or through the criminal injuries compensation scheme.

Photo of Wendy Morton Wendy Morton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Compensation orders are an important power. The purpose of the order is to pay the victim compensation for any personal injury, loss or damage caused by an offence, and they allow courts to ensure that offenders make financial reparations to victims where possible. As part of our review of the victims code, we will be considering the recommendation on raising awareness of criminal compensation orders made by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

Several hon. Members:

rose—

Photo of Gloria De Piero Gloria De Piero Labour, Ashfield

Support for victims is not good enough, so can I appeal to the Government to change the law to remove the automatic entitlement of joint assets from those who have attempted to murder their partners? The case I am working on sees the perpetrator demand £90,000 from the woman he attempted to kill, or, as she puts it, a £3,000 reward for every stab wound.

Photo of Wendy Morton Wendy Morton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her question. I suggest that we perhaps meet after this session, when she can outline a little more about her case.