Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling MP: His actions don’t follow his words

Today, Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling MP, has announced a package of measures about the treatment of victims and witnesses in the criminal justice system. Yet his own Victims Commissioner has doubts and Police & Crime Commissioner for Northumbria, Vera Baird remains skeptical about his commitment to deliver.

Under Grayling’s proposals, he states victims will be kept informed about their case, courts will allow personal impact statements to be read out. Other measures announced include setting up a victims information service from March 2015 and allowing more child witnesses to film their evidence before a trial starts.

However, the

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Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner has written to the Home Secretary expressing her alarm at plans to destroy thousands of DNA samples from a national database. Vera Baird QC believes it will be victims of rape and sexual violence who will ultimately suffer as a result of samples held on the national DNA database being destroyed as part of the Protection of Freedoms Act. From October police forces won’t be able to hold indefinitely the DNA of people arrested on suspicion of sexual and violent crimes if they are released without charge. Forces can apply to the biometrics

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The Reality of Rape Law

Read Vera’s piece in the Huffington Post here.

Cameron needs to distance himself – and politics – from the money of a convicted thief

Read Vera’s article for LabourList.org here

Police candidate hails S. Tyne approach on anti-social behaviour

Read the Shields Gazette report of Vera’s visit to South Tyneside to learn at first hand how the council is working with its partners to tackle crime.

Police commissioner candidate promises Sunderland women she will tackle domestic violence

Read the Sunderland Echo report of Vera’s visit to Sunderland charity Wearside Women in Need.

Vera pledges to put victims of crime first

Vera Baird QC, Labour’s candidate for Northumbria Police & Crime Commissioner has signed up to support Victim Support’s five basic rights for victims of crime and pledged to secure improvements in the way victims are treated by the local criminal justice system if elected in November’s elections.

Read the full press release here

Tackling domestic violence against women and girls

Vera Baird, Labour’s candidate for Police & Crime Commissioner for Northumbria has today (Tuesday 17 July 2012) pledged to bring in a new approach to tackling domestic violence against women and girls. Read her press release here.

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The falsely retracted rape claim: how the justice system failed

It has been a catastrophic case for both ‘Sarah’ the victim and the public. Here are the key questions that need answering.

There are big questions for the justice professionals in the saga of “Sarah”, whose conviction for perverting the course of justice by wrongly retracting a rape allegation was upheld on Tuesday by Lord Judge, the lord chief justice. Read the rest of Vera’s piece in ‘Comment is free’ in the Guardian on March 14th, 2012

Checking the blind spot - Examining violence against women

This piece appeared in Next Left on Friday, 10th February 2012:

This is a guest post by Vera Baird. Vera is a member of the Fabian Society Executive Committee and Chair of the new Labour Commission on Women’s Safety, commissioned by shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper.

Yvette Cooper described this Government, whose first budget took 70% of its cuts from women and 30% from men, as having “a blind spot” about women. She seems to be right when one considers, not only economics, but also plans such as the deletion of

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