Keir Starmer is today launching a radical and comprehensive Victims’ Bill to ensure that victims are at the heart of the criminal justice system.
The Victims of Crime Bill would give legally enforceable rights to victims and establish a framework for victims’ services. This is the first time a fully drafted Victims’ law has been prepared and put before Parliament. It is intended as the ‘gold standard’ for victims.
The Bill also provides a right of appeal against a decision to stop a criminal investigation and establishes a duty to report suspected child abuse by those working in regulated professions such as healthcare workers and teachers. The cases of Poppi Worthington and Phoebe Greenwood reported last week, along with that of Claire Waxman, a victim of stalking who originally drafted a victims law after being subjected to over a decade of systemic failings by the criminal justice system, demonstrate the clear need for such a Bill.
The Bill is due to receive its Second Reading in the Commons on Friday 29th January. It has cross party support and has been prepared with the help of Claire Waxman, founder of Voice4Victims, and Harry Fletcher from Digital Trust CIC.
Keir will be launching the Bill in an event co-hosted by Claire Waxman and Sarah Champion MP on 25th January in Parliament. The event will hear from victims of crime along with those with those who have helped draft the Bill and worked on the Victims’ Taskforce.
Keir Starmer said: "Victims’ Rights will only be taken seriously when they are enshrined in law. This is a radical, comprehensive Bill that would ensure victims are better supported, listened to and treated fairly.
Victims should be at the heart of our criminal justice system. At the moment, though, too many victims are afraid to come forward and most victims who do say they wouldn’t come forward again. That has to change, and this Bill would make sure it does.
The Government have a manifesto commitment to introduce a Victims Bill but are yet to do so. I hope the Government see this Bill not as a challenge but as an invitation. It has been drafted after wide-ranging consultation with victims and represents their gold-standard. I urge the Government to now take it forward."