Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Stephen Bett, has welcomed the publication of the new Victims’ Code (PDF, external), saying it is an important step on the path to making the criminal justice system more victim-centred.
“Victims’ needs must be at the heart of both policing and criminal justice. It is vital that victims are better supported and have a stronger voice, and the new Code is a step towards that.
“As victims of crime, these individuals have already been through an ordeal – we don’t want a negative experience of the criminal justice system to add to that trauma. The Code offers victims more choice, and that is ultimately what is going to help them stay in control while accessing the support they need.”
Stephen said he was pleased to see that the Code will allow victims to speak in court about the impact the crime has had on them physically, emotionally, financially or in any other way.
“I think it is a very positive move to give victims the option to have their say in court. Here in Norfolk, we put a lot of value on restorative justice. Part of the success of that approach is giving victims the chance, if they want and are able to, to look the offender in the eye and tell them how their actions have affected them. As well as helping the victim to come to terms with what has happened and move on with more positive things, it also highlights to offenders the human cost of their actions and has been shown to reduce re-offending”.
The code will come into force in December 2013.