To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 13 October 2014, Official Report, column 13WS, on Our Commitment to Victims, what (a) victims' and victims' support charities and (b) other organisations his Department consulted before making that statement.
My Department worked very closely with criminal justice organisations and other stakeholders before publishing “Our Commitment to Victims” on 15 September 2014.
My Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Justice and I have listened to the views of the Victims’ Panel, which we set up so that those who have been affected by crime can tell us directly how the criminal justice system could better serve victims. We have also worked closely with the Victims’ Commissioner since her appointment.
My Department also developed “Our Commitment to Victims” in close cooperation with other Government Departments, the Crown Prosecution Service, the police, and the criminal justice inspectorates.
Key stakeholders including the Bar Council and the Law Society, and representatives of Victim Support’s Witness Service contributed to my Department’s report, ‘Review of ways to reduce distress of victims in trials of sexual violence’, published on 31 March 2014, which formed the requirement for publicly funded advocates to undertake approved specialist training on working with vulnerable victims and witnesses announced in “Our Commitment to Victims”.
In our response to the “Getting it right for Victims’ and Witnesses” public consultation, published in 2012, we said we would look at the options for a Victims’ Law but that reform must begin with a more effective Victims’ Code. In “Our Commitment to Victims” we have committed to introduce a Victims’ Law.