Victims’ code greeted with caution

NOT FAR ENOUGH ... the National Victims Association's David Hines.
NOT FAR ENOUGH ... the National Victims Association's David Hines.

A CONSULTATION which has been launched into a new Victims’ Code has been met with caution by a campaigner in South Tyneside.

David Hines, head of services and development with the National Victims’ Association, says the charity will take part in the consultation but feels it doesn’t go far enough.

He said he would prefer to see a victims’ law introduced.

Mr Hines, who set up NVA to support families affected by homicide after the death of his daughter, Marie, at the hands of her partner, said: “We will be taking part in the consultation, but in the past we have found the victims’ code has not worked.

“All the agencies say they are going to abide by it, but inevitably they don’t.

“What we would like to see is a victims’ law brought in, which will ensure what agencies say they will deliver actually happens.”

The code aims to give victims of crime the chance to hold the criminal justice system to account by detailing what they can expect from the moment they report a crime to the end of the trial, and who to demand help from.

It also aims to ensure extra support for victims of the most serious crimes, specialist help to young victims, and a right of redress by making all criminal justice agencies use a clear, accessible complaints system.

Victims’ Minister Helen Grant said: “Victims must have more help navigating a confusing and often intimidating criminal justice system.

“Too often, they tell us they feel they are treated as an afterthought or that ‘the system’ made their already horrific experience worse.

“This total revamp of the Victims’ Code has been one of my main priorities.”