The October 2019 Queen’s Speech promised new laws on crime, health and the environment, and set an ambitious legislative programme that included seven criminal justice bills.
The speech included a promise to accelerate plans to enshrine in law the support that victims are entitled to, and to also consult on a new Victims’ Law with a view to publishing a revised Victims’ Code early in 2020.
As a law firm that supports victims of violent crime to recover compensation for their injuries through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, we welcome reforms to help survivors who, because of their experiences, invariably lack confidence in the justice system.
The Government has signalled their intention to take up a recommendation put to them by local Rotherham MP, Sarah Champion. She has suggested the introduction of a ‘Police Pledge Card’ that should be given to survivors of domestic and other violent crimes which provides crucial information about the criminal justice process and a single point of contact.
Many of the clients who come to SHU Law for advice are referred to us by victim support organisations, often several months after an assault. Therefore, to have a system that informed victims early-on of the help, support and legal recourse available to them would be a positive development.
We receive enquiries from victims of violent crime, particularly victims of domestic abuse and knife crime. Statistically these crimes are on the increase, yet for us, it is concerning that access to justice for victims remains difficult. Compensation remains restricted by a tariff, and the scheme is inaccessible for those who have unspent criminal convictions. In addition, the delays surrounding the processing of CICA claims adds to the distress already being experienced by victims. Coupled with this is the fact that many can’t access adequate mental health services or counselling in a timely or meaningful way. Therefore, it is unsurprising that victims of violent crime feel that they are denied access to justice.
If you have been a victim of domestic abuse or violent crime, please call us on 0114 225 6666 for free legal advice.