Victims Strategy - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:27 pm on 10th September 2018.

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Photo of The Bishop of Chester The Bishop of Chester Bishop 5:27 pm, 10th September 2018

My Lords, I wholeheartedly endorse and support what has been said about this strategy. I know from my pastoral work how the effects of crime can resonate throughout people’s lives, not least when it comes to sexual abuse that happened a long time ago. Nevertheless, can the noble and learned Lord comment on the term “victim” and when its use is appropriate and when it is not? Occasionally in the report the term “victim/survivor” is used, and of course we have the report from Lord Justice Henriques into the Operation Midland case, which contained some warnings about the premature use of the word “victim”; in that case it is clear that those who were accused were the victims, and I understand that the person who was widely described as the victim is himself now facing criminal charges. The same was said by the noble Lord, Lord Carlile, in his report on the Bishop Bell case. Is there a way of defining the term? At the end of the report there is a glossary of about 29 or 30 terms, but the term “victim” itself is not defined in it. Perhaps the strategy might be strengthened if there was at least some recognition that people who are falsely accused can equally be victims.