Vera Baird DBE KC

Writer, Lecturer, Parliamentary Consultant and Co-Director of Astraea: Gender Justice

Putting Victims First

Commissioners put victims first

Police and crime commissioners across England and Wales are championing the rights of victims, having recently taken on responsibility for commissioning services to support them in the aftermath of a crime against them.

From implementing innovative and integrated local services, to seeking the wider public’s views on how offenders of anti-social behaviour should be dealt with, PCCs are now at the forefront of helping victims to cope and recover.

Funding for support services for victims is passing from the Ministry of Justice to police and crime commissioners enabling a far more locally driven provision for victims of crime to be created. Some areas went live with the new arrangements in October, while others will follow by April next year.

Community Remedy was also launched in October, giving victims of certain types of crime and anti-social behaviour a say in the out of court punishment of offenders. Police and crime commissioners consulted extensively with the public before they agreed on the list of local ‘options’ to choose from.

Chair of the APCC’s Supporting Victims and Reducing Harm Standing Group Vera Baird is the Police and Crime Commissioner for the Northumbria Police region which goes live in April 2015.

She said: “This puts the victim at the centre of the service they receive and will ensure consistency across the board so no matter where people live they receive a good service which leaves them with a positive experience.

“I am delighted commissioners across the country are now at the forefront of helping victims recover from their upsetting experiences and putting them at the centre of our efforts.”

Today’s Partnership Summit will hear more about how victims can be better supported in the aftermath of a crime against them, but it will also hear about preventing them becoming victims in the first place by reducing re-offending. Workshop sessions on Day 2 of the Summit coincide with Restorative Justice Week.