Revising the Victims’ Code

Closed 16 Aug 2015

Opened 16 Jul 2015

Results Updated 22 Oct 2015

The consultation paper ‘Revising the Victims’ Code’ was published on 16 July 2015. The consultation invited comments on changes we proposed to make to the Victims’ Code, to transpose Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and the Council of 25 October 2012 (“the Directive”). The Directive establishes minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime and comes into force on 16 November 2015. The Code has been a principal means of ensuring that criminal justice agencies give victims their rights.

We proposed and have subsequently made three main amendments to the Victims’ Code:

(1) to broaden our definition of a victim so that victims of all criminal offences are eligible to receive services under the Code;

(2) to extend application of the Code to other relevant investigative and prosecutorial organisations which perform functions covered by the Directive (new Chapter 5); and

(3) to ensure that victims who report a crime receive a written acknowledgement.

We also proposed and have made a number of other smaller changes. The majority of these either codify (for transposition purposes) what is already happening in practice or require small adjustments to existing policy or practice.   

The consultation period closed on 16 August 2015 and this report summarises the responses, including how the consultation process influenced the final version of the Victims’ Code.

Files:

Overview

The statutory Code of Practice for Victims of Crime (“the Code”) places obligations on core criminal justice agencies to provide victims of crime with support and information.

We revised the Code in December 2013 to include some additional entitlements, make it clearer and more readable, and to give greater flexibility to core criminal justice agencies to tailor services according to individual need.

The Code is central to our strategy for transposing Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and the Council of 25 October 2012 (“the Directive”) which establishes minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, and which comes into force on 16 November 2015. It has long been our principal means of ensuring that criminal justice system agencies give victims the entitlements they are due. 

We transposed a considerable amount of the Directive when we revised the Code in December 2013. We are now consulting on further revisions to the Code to address some gaps which remain in relation to the support and information provided to victims of crime.

Revising the Code should improve the experience of victims of crime in the criminal justice system and ensure compliance with the EU Victims’ Directive by 16 November 2015.

These are technical changes required for compliance with the Directive and separate from our commitment to introduce measures to further increase the rights of victims of crime, for which we will publish draft clauses in due course.

The main changes we propose to make are:

  1. To extend the services offered under the Code to victims of any criminal offence, not just victims of the more serious criminal offences that are notifiable under the National Crime Recording Standards (NCRS).
     
  2. To make sure that victims are entitled to receive support and information from relevant public sector investigative and prosecutorial organisations, not just the police and Crown Prosecution Service.
     
  3. To make sure that a victim who reports a crime receives a written acknowledgment which states the basic elements of the criminal offence concerned.

A number of other smaller changes are described in the appendix. The majority of these either codify (for transposition purposes) what is already happening in practice or require small adjustments to existing policy or practice.

We are interested in your views on these proposals.

Audiences

  • Citizens
  • Voluntary organisations
  • Local authorities
  • Charities
  • Government departments
  • Legal professionals
  • Judiciary
  • Police
  • Prosecutors
  • Victims
  • Youth Offending Team workers
  • Court & Tribunal staff
  • Legal professional bodies
  • Public sector
  • VCSE/Charity/Mutual
  • UK policy institutions
  • UK politicians
  • Journalists

Interests

  • European Union
  • Courts
  • Public Bodies
  • Youth Justice
  • Criminal justice
  • Law
  • Parole Board for England and Wales
  • UK Law