31.6 C
Thursday, August 11, 2022
HomeUK NewsProsecutors could be required to meet victims before deciding whether to charge...

Prosecutors could be required to meet victims before deciding whether to charge suspects

Prosecutors could be required to meet victims of crime before making decisions on whether a suspect should be charged.

The idea is part of government plans which would apply to certain crimes under a victims’ law for England and Wales, the Ministry of Justice said.

The “explicit requirements” are aimed at giving victims a “louder voice” and to make sure police, courts, and the Crown Prosecution Service support them.

A consultation has been launched which will ask people which types of crimes should warrant a prosecutor meeting a victim before making a charging decision.

Also included is a possible increase to the victim surcharge – a fee for offenders which helps fund support services.

This could be raised from as low as £22 to £100.

Neighbourhoods could also be allowed to provide community impact statements in cases such as anti-social behaviour or attacks on public places, similar to a system used in Canada.

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said: “No victim should feel unsupported. We have a moral duty to do better for victims, but as a practical matter that support will also help bring more criminals to justice and protect the public.

“Our plans will give victims a louder voice, a greater role in the criminal justice system, and make criminals pay more to help victims recover.”

Dame Vera Baird, the victims’ commissioner for England and Wales, said: “All too often victims are treated as an afterthought, with their needs ignored and neglected.”

She said the plans are a “once in a generation opportunity to drive real culture change, requiring agencies to see, hear and help victims – if necessary, with real consequences if this does not happen”.

Diana Fawcett, chief executive of the charity Victim Support, said: “There needs to be a real shift in the way victims are treated by the criminal justice process. We will work to ensure that the Victims’ Bill makes a meaningful difference to victims of crime, and we will encourage victims and survivors to make their voice heard during the consultation.”

The consultation closes on 3 February.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments