Presented to Parliament by the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice by Command of Her Majesty
This cross-government Victims Strategy sets out a criminal justice system wide response to improving the support offered to victims of crime and incorporates actions from all criminal justice agencies, including the police, CPS and courts.
This strategy builds on the good progress we have made over the past few years to ensure victims have the right help in the aftermath of a crime and are properly supported in the process of seeing justice delivered.
Our vision is for a justice system that supports even more victims to speak up by giving them the certainty that they will be understood, that they will be protected, and that they will be supported throughout their journey, regardless of their circumstances or background.
Most people do not have everyday experience of the justice system. When they do, it is usually because they have been a victim of crime.
When this happens, their experience with the justice system can, unfortunately, be stressful, confusing and come to dominate their life. Serious criminal cases can take years before being resolved, with lives ruined, relationships damaged, and careers put on hold. Lower level offending can cause communities to splinter, whilst blighting society as a whole.
The nature of crime is rapidly evolving. Technology has become an enabler for criminality, leading to new crimes such as upskirting, and a rise in other offences such as stalking. Fraud and cyber offences now account for nearly half of all crime in England and Wales. More victims are coming forward to report crimes that have traditionally been under-reported and seek support. For example, demand for support services from male victims of sexual violence has risen 176% in three years.
The support we offer victims must keep pace with these changes. No one should feel that they cannot report a crime, or that their voice won’t be heard. No one should have to deal with the trauma of crime alone.
The fundamental aim of our legal system is to ensure that justice is done. This means making sure those who are innocent are acquitted and the guilty convicted. In England and Wales, our adversarial system means that a case is brought against someone by the State, rather than a victim. But whilst a victim is not a legal party in the process, dealing with cases justly also means respecting their interests. A victim’s journey through the justice system – whatever the path and outcome – should not result in them becoming a victim of the process, as well as the crime.
No one department, agency, or emergency service can alone provide the services victims rightly expect to receive. We must ensure all work together. That is why, for the first time, we have published a cross-government Victims Strategy; a document setting out both new policy, and bringing together existing funding commitments made by various government departments.
In developing the strategy, we have engaged extensively with victims, victims’ groups and representatives such as the Victims’ Commissioner. This has ensured the strategy is informed by those who have had direct experience of being a victim, as well as those with frontline expertise. You can find more information about our approach and the stakeholders we have engaged with in Annex 1.