BARONESS HELEN NEWLOVE - Appointed Victims' Commissioner...Her appointment will ensure victims' and witnesses' voices are brought to the heart of Government, making sure their needs are championed and that the Government is delivering on its commitments.
Baroness Newlove's appointment will last for three years and her role will include:
- engaging with victims and witnesses groups, local and national leaders and criminal justice agencies to build up a picture of the current experience for victims and witnesses in the criminal justice system
- advising the Government on views from victims and witnesses on existing good practice in the criminal justice system and areas for future work
- contributing to the Government's revision of the Victims Code to ensure that the new version provides much greater clarity to victims on their entitlements from criminal justice agencies.
You may also be interested to note the recent publication of the Evidence and Practice Review of support for victims and outcome measurement. The report is available on justice.gov.uk.
VICTIMS' COMMISSIONER - LOUISE CASEY...The appointment of Louise Casey as the first Victims' Commissioner commenced on Tuesday, 30th March, 2010. The role will build on a wide range of improvements for Victims and Witnesses, to take forward and expand on the work conducted by Sara Payne during her role as Victims' Champion. Louise Casey's inaugural speech was given at the RSA on Tuesday, 20th July, 2010.
The Commissioner formed a Policy Advisory Group in the early part of 2011, a number of Victim Organisations including KnifeCrimes.Org & Victims' Advocates, represented by Ann Oakes-Odger MBE...informed the Commissioner of the necessary changes that were felt necessary to reform the Criminal Justice System. This resulted in Louise Casey's Report calling for a new Victims' Law. For further information and to download Report:
WHY DO WE NEED THE VICTIMS' COMMISSIONER?... www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-10687059
WHAT ARE LOUISE CASEY'S VIEWS: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-10691151
VICTIMS' CHAMPION - SARA PAYNE...throughout the her year of Office, Sara travelled around the UK speaking to Victims and Witnesses. Many people, organisations including KnifeCrimes.Org...supporting families of serious Crime such as Murder & Manslaughter attended Sara's Workshops to explore the needs of Victims. Sara Payne's Report was published 5th November, 2009: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8343313.stm
MINISTRY OF JUSTICE - VIDEO INFORMATION: www.youtube.com/user/MinistryofJusticeUK/videos
IF YOU FEEL STRONGLY ABOUT AN ISSUE - PETITION GOVERNMENT: www.direct.gov.uk/en/diol1/doitonline/dg_066327
THE CODE FOR CROWN PROSECUTORS: www.cps.gov.uk/publications/code_for_crown_prosecutors/
RETRIALS - LEGAL GUIDANCE: www.cps.gov.uk/legal/p_to_r/retrials
YOUR LOCAL CPS: www.cps.gov.uk/local/
MURDER & MANSLAUGHTER...Definition of Homicide, Legal Resources and Legal Guidance: www.cps.gov.uk/legal/h_to_k/homicide_murder_and_manslaughter/
QUEEN'S EVIDENCE - IMMUNITIES UNDERTAKINGS AND AGREEMENTS UNDER THE SERIOUS ORGANISED CRIME & POLICE ACT 2005:
This guidance sets out the procedures to be followed by prosecutors when exercising their powers under sections 71 to 74 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (SOCPA) 2005 in relation to offenders who are willing to assist in the investigation or prosecution of others. These powers are intended to be used in relation to serious offending only, that is in relation to indictable offences (whether indictable only or triable either way).
The guidance consists of three Parts:
- Part A contains the general principles that are applicable to all prosecutors when exercising these powers.
- Part B provides an overview of the provisions, again of general application.
- Part C contains practical instructions specific to the prosecuting authority in question.
Powers under sections 71 to 74 were originally given to the following specified prosecutors: the Director of Public Prosecutions; the Director of the Serious Fraud Office and the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland. Specified prosecutors are permitted to designate other prosecutors for the purpose of exercising these powers.
The 2005 Act has been amended by the Coroners and Justice Act 2009. This extends the powers under sections 71 - 74 to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Financial Services Authority (FSA). They will designate a 'chief prosecutor' or 'deputy prosecutor' to act as a specified prosecutor: Crown Prosecution Service Link
GET SUPPORT AS A VICTIM OF CRIME... www.gov.uk/get-support-as-a-victim-of-crime
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW...to become a 'Victim' of crime is life changing! When you have lost someone close, it is important to find out if you are entitled to any welfare benefit. You may be entitled to Bereavement Benefits. If you now have less money coming in, you may also be able to claim a benefit such as Income Support or Council Tax Benefit. For help with understanding the benefits system: www.adviceguide.org.uk
CRIMINAL INJURIES COMPENSATION...if you are the Relative or a Dependant of someone who died as a result of a Criminal Injury sustained in Great Britain you may be able to get compensation from the Criminal Injuries (CICA), under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. However, if the death happened Abroad, you will not be eligible for any compensation under this scheme. Please refer to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office...'Guide for Bereaved Families'.
If the death happened in a country which is a Member State of the European Union, CICA's EU Compensation Assistance Team (EUCAT) can provide practical help and advice about the compensation scheme that is in operation in the Country where the injury took place. They can also help you to apply for compensation from that Country, as long as:-
a) the injury took place on or after 1st July, 2005 in a violent crime
b) the crime took place in an EU Country
c) you are resident in the UK
For further details contact: CICA's EU Compensation Team on 0800 358 3601 or email: email@example.com
CLAIMING COMPENSATION...the type and amount of compensation that you may qualify for depend on your personal circumstances. You must apply for compensation within 2 years of the incident...it is important to note that this time limit may be waived but, only in limited circumstances. For an aplication form and details of other documents contact CICA on 0800 358 3601 or write to: The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, Tay House, 300 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4LN. Further information go to: www.cica.gov.uk
GUIDE TO APPEAL...if you have experienced the refusal of a claim for compensation, you may 'Appeal' the decision to an independent Tribunal. For further information go to: www.cicap.gov.uk
GUIDE TO RETRIALS...Legal Guidance www.cps.gov.uk/legal/p_to_r/retrials/
LEGAL SUPPORT/GETTING LEGAL HELP...The Legal Help Scheme give you basic advice from a Solicitor on almost all legal issues. The Solicitor will be able to advise you in writing or in person, and will also write letters, negotiate or obtain a Barrister's Opinion.
If you receive Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance or Pension Credit, you automatically qualify for legal assistance. If you are on a low income and have little money, you may still qualify for support. To find out more about the scheme and to get free legal information, help and advice contact...'Community Legal Advice'. You can also request a leaflet explaining the various forms of Legal Aid available from them. Call 0845 345 4345 or go to: www.communitylegaladvice.org.uk
LEGAL HELP FOLLOWING MURDER OR MANSLAUGHTER...get help with legal problems arising from a Criminal Case through the 'Community Legal Service'. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) pays for the cost of prosecuting a Murder or Manslaughter Case. However, you may also face other legal problems as a result of the crime, such as divorce, child matters, civil action, debts, eviction or problems at work. If you need a Solicitor to solve these problems, you may be entitled to support from the 'Community Legal Service Fund' to pay for your legal costs. Call 0845 608 1122 or go to: www.legalservices.gov.uk
GET LEGAL ADVICE CONCERNING A CHILD...if you need specific legal advice about who a child should live or have contact with, there are many people you can contact. Talk to a Solicitor who specialises in Children Act work. You can get a name and address from the Law Society's Children Panel. Call 0207 2421222 or go to: www.lawsociety.org.uk
You can find the contact details of a local Solicitor in the Yellow Pages or the Solicitors' Regional Directory which you may find at a Public Library. Or, you can contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau...to find your nearest Bureau, see their website - go to: www.citizensadvice.org.uk
You can also contact your local Law Centre. To find your nearest Law Centre, look in your local telephone directory or check the 'Law Centres Federation' website - go to: www.lawcentres.org.uk
LEGAL SUPPORT/DO I HAVE TO PAY ANY OF IT BACK? If you qualify for Legal Aid, all or part of your legal costs will be paid by the Community Legal Service Fund. However, the Legal Services Commission has decided that anyone who gains or keeps money or property with the help of Legal Aid may have to repay some, or all, of the legal costs. This means that your funding acts as a loan, and this is known as the statutory charge. However, the repayment may be postponed if the outstanding debt is registered against your property as security. Make sure that your Legal Adviser explains this to you before you proceed any further.
MAKING A COMPLAINT - What you need to know...
MAKING A COMPLAINT...Although Criminal Justice Agencies try to provide a good and consistent standard of service, you may sometimes not receive a sufficient level of support, information or advice from them. It is important that you are aware of your 'Rights' and know that you can make a complaint to the organisition in question.
The first point of contact for all case specific enquiries including complaints should be made to the relevant Court or Tribunal Office. Contact information for Court and Tribunals offices: www.justice.gov.uk/contacts/hmcts
COMPLAINING ABOUT A DECISION BY A JUDGE OR MAGISTRATE...if you are unhappy with a decision made by a Judge or Magistrate, it can normally only be changed by asking a Judge in a higher Court to consider whether the decision was correct. This process is called 'making an Appeal'...for further information on whether an Appeal is possible speak to the Crown Prosecution Service, Prosecution Lawyer responsible for the case.
Appealing against a Verdict, Sentence or Tariff is only possible in certain circumstances. Bereaved family members cannot Appeal against a 'Not Guilty' verdict, a Sentence or the length of a Tariff (the minimum term that some Prisoners must serve). However, if you think that the Sentence is 'lenient'...you can discuss your concerns with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). They must support your view and decide to refer the case to the Attorney General. If the Attorney General considers the Sentence or Tariff is 'unduly lenient' they can refer the case to the Court of Appeal, which may consider increasing the Sentence.
The Attorney General's Office has to refer cases within 28 days from the day on which the Sentence was passed. So you must make sure that you contact the CPS straight away after the Offender has been Sentenced. Alternatively, you may contact the Attorney General's Office yourself...write to: Attorney General's Office, 20 Victoria Street, London, SW1H 0NF. Or go to: www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk
COMPLAINING ABOUT THE CONDUCT OF A JUDGE, MAGISTRATE OR CORONER...if you want to complain about the conduct (behaviour) of a Judge, Magistrate or Coroner, or if you want to complain about an Inquest, you need to contact the Office for Judicial Complaints. Write to: Office for Judicial Complaints, 4th Floor, Clive House, 70 Petty France, London, SW1H 9EX. Or call 0207 189 2937 http://judicialcomplaints.judiciary.gov.uk/
COMPLAINING DIRECTLY TO THE ORGANISATION/Complaining about a Service Provider under the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime. Sometimes the Criminal Justice Agencies you are dealing with fail to deliver their obligations under the 'Code of Practice for Victims of Crime'. The 'Code' sets out clearly what services you can expect to receive from each of the Criminal Justice Agencies. If you do not receive an acceptable level of service, you should make a complaint to the person you have been dealing with, at that Organisation, You should also make a complaint through the Organisation's internal complaints procedure.
You can find out more about 'The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime' at:
MAKING A COMPLAINT TO THE DIFFERENT 'CRIMINAL JUSTICE AGENCIES'...the following is a guide to the best way to make a complaint:-
POLICE: Your local Police can provide you with a leaflet explaining how to make a complaint. You should receive a response within 10 working days.
CROWN PROSECUTION SERVICE (CPS): Write a letter outlining your complaint to the CPS Office that dealt with your case. You can find contact details for CPS Offices at Police Stations or at your local Citizens Advice Bureau, or in the telephone directory. You should receive a reply within 3 working days.
JOINT POLICE/CROWN PROSECUTION SERVICE WITNESS CARE UNITS: Write a letter outlining your complaint to the Witness Care Unit that dealt with your case.
CROWN COURT & MAGISTRATES' COURT: Your local Court can provide you with a leaflet about the 'complaints procedure'. You should make a complaint in writing to the Complaints Officer at the Court. You should receive a reply within 5 working days.
COURT OF APPEAL: Write a letter outlining your complaint to...The Customer Service Manager, Criminal Appeal Office, Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London, WC2A 2LL. Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
GOING TO COURT - Step by Step Guide: www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUOc0Sa1WMM&feature=youtu.be
YOUTH OFFENDING TEAM: Write a letter outlining your complaint, to the Youth Offending Team Manager at your local Youth Offending Team.
NATIONAL PROBATION SERVICE: Write a letter outlining your complaint to the local Manager or Senior Probation Officer at the office you have been dealing with.
PRISON SERVICE: Write a letter outlining your complaint to...The Director General's Briefing & Casework Unit, HM Prison Service, Cleland House, Page Street, London, SW1 4LN. If the Offender is held in a Contracted Prison, the Prison Service will refer the matter to the Office of Contracted Prisons.
PAROLE BOARD: Write a letter outlining your complaint to...The Complaints Officer, Parole Board for England & Wales, Grenadier House, 99-105 Horseferry Road, London, SW1P 2DX.
CRIMINAL INJURIES COMPENSATION AUTHORITY: Write a letter outlining your complaint to...The Manager, Customer Care Team, Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, Tay House, 300 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4LN. You should receive a reply within 20 working days.
TRIBUNALS SERVICE (CRIMINAL INJURIES COMPENSATION): Write a letter outlining your complaint (within 3 months of the Hearing) to...Customer Service Manager, Tribunals Service - Criminal Injuries Compensation, 11th Floor Cardinal Tower, 12 Farringdon Road, London, EC1M 3HS.
CRIMINAL CASES REVIEW COMMISSION: Write a letter outlining your complaint to...The Complaints Manager, Criminal Cases Review Commission, Alpha Tower, Suffolk Street, Queensway, Birmingham, B1 1TT.
CONTACTING YOUR MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: If you are unsatisfied with the way your case has been handled by any Government Agency and you have exhausted their internal 'complaints procedures'...you can contact your Member of Parliament (MP). Write a letter to your MP at House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA. If you do not know their name, contact the House of Commons Information Office 0207 219 4272. If you wish to speak to your MP you can contact the House of Commons Switchboard 0207 219 3000 and ask to be put through.
You may also contact your MP at their local Constituency Office...adresses and contact details will be listed in the local Libraries and Town Halls. Most will have personal websites and email addresses. You can also search for names, addresses and 'phone numbers on the UK Parliament website: www.parliament.uk or www.writetothem.com
CONTACTING THE PARLIAMENTARY OMBUDSMAN: The Parliamentary Ombudsman investigates complaints about Government Departments from members of the public. The Ombudsman has wide powers...they are able to obtain evidence from Government Departments and make recommendations about the cases they hear.
Cases must be referred to the Ombudsman by a Member of Parliament. These include 'complaints' about breaches of the Victims Code.
THE NATIONAL PROBATION SERVICE...operates the Probation Victim Contact Scheme which provides eligible victims with information about Offenders Sentences at key stages. A Victim Liaison Officer will provide you with information about how the Parole Board considers, and makes decisions about Offenders' cases.
The Officer will explain how you can put your views to the Board in a Victim Personal Statement. Also how you can put forward your views about the restrictions which may be attached to an Offender's Licence which are necessary for your, or your family's protection:
NATIONAL OFFENDER MANAGEMENT...Victim Helpline
If you are a Victim of Crime or are related to a Victim, and have received unwanted contact (by letter or telephone) from a Prisoner or you are worried about their release from Prison, telephone the Prison Service Victim Helpline.
You may also telephone or write to:-
National Offender Management Service Victim Helpline
P.O. Box 4278
Tel: 0845 7585 112
CODE OF PRACTICE FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME
If you have been a Victim of Crime the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime sets out the services you can expect to receive from each of the Criminal Justice Agencies, like the Police and the Crown Prosecution Service. Agencies are required by Law to provide details of the minimum standard of service they will provide to you:
THE COURTS CHARTER
The Courts Charter sets out the Standard of Service...the standards are set after talking to people who have used the Court. Most people coming to Court will be worried about what to expect. The aim is to reduce these concerns by giving a good, friendly service. When you come to Court you can expect fair and equal treatment, no matter what your race, ethnic origin, disability, sex, sexuality or religious beliefs.
E. & O.E.