Supporting victims of crime is a priority for this Government. We know that victim support services are crucial for victims to rebuild and recover from the impact of crime. We are increasing funding for these services to £192 million by 2024/25, an uplift of 92% on core budgets in 2020/21 and more than quadruple the level in 2009/10. We have committed £154 million of this budget per annum on a multi-year basis, for the next three years (2022/23 to 2024/25 inclusive), allowing victim support services to build capacity and strengthen resilience.
We also recently published a draft Victims Bill, along with a wider package of measures, that will amplify victims’ voices in the criminal justice process, improve the support they receive, and strengthen oversight of criminal justice agencies. Measures include:
- Sending a clear signal about what victims can and should expect from the criminal justice system by placing the Victims’ Code into law.
- Increasing transparency and oversight of criminal justice agencies’ services to victims, so that we can identify problems, drive up standards and give the public confidence.
- Enabling improvements in the quality and consistency of support services for victims, by improving how organisations work together to commission support services to better meet the needs of victims and increasing awareness of Independent Sexual Violence Advisers and Independent Domestic Violence Advisers. We are also increasing the number of ISVAs and IDVAs we fund by 43% - from 700 to more than 1,000 by 2024/25.
We continue to deliver the Rape Review action plan to more than double the number of adult rape cases reaching court by the end of this parliament. In 2021, the number of convictions for rape offences was 67% higher than in 2020. We are:
- Introducing a single source of 24/7 support for victims of rape and sexual abuse later this year.
- Rolling out of a new investigatory model focusing on the suspect’s behaviour, Operation Soteria, which currently operates across five police forces and will be rolled out nationally by June 2023.
- Expanding pre-recorded cross-examination (Section 28) for rape victims across England and Wales, which is currently available in almost half of all Crown Courts.
- Launching a pilot of enhanced specialist sexual violence support in Crown Courts in Leeds, Newcastle, and Snaresbrook in London, to support rape victims to stay engaged in the process and get the justice they deserve.
- Publishing the second local Criminal Justice System (CJS) Delivery Data Dashboard (formally called CJS scorecards) which bring together data from across the system to increase transparency, understanding of the justice system, and support collaboration.