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Avon and Somerset supports Ministry of Justice Victims Code of Practice


PCC Sue Mountstevens is committed to putting victims at the heart of the criminal justice system

Victims Code of Practice, published by the Ministry of Justice today is being welcomed by Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens and Avon and Somerset Constabulary.

The publication outlines what victims can expect from the police and criminal justice services and places an emphasis on tailoring support to the individual needs of the victim.

Ms Mountstevens acknowledges that the victims’ journey is currently a very complex multi-stage process. However the Victims Code of Practice (VCOP) intends to help work towards simplifying and improving both the process and service for victims.

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “The Victims Code of Practice is an important tool in helping to achieve my vision of putting victims at the heart of the criminal justice system.  It will also help me hold the police to account on the service victims of crime are receiving.

“Having this publication as a single point of reference and working closely with the constabulary and criminal justice partners, we can look at taking this forward providing a more effective and efficient service for victims.

“I have also launched today a consultation with victims to find out more about their experience with the criminal justice system to ensure that victims can shape the future of services particularly the local support services, I will commission from 2014.”

Chief Superintendent Kay Wozniak, the Constabulary’s lead for victims said: “This updated version of the Victim’s Code of Practice provides us with the ideal opportunity to refresh our approach to victims of crime, working with partners to ensure they are kept informed, updated and engaged. 

“I am particularly pleased to see that Victim Personal Statements are included in the code for the first time, which is a crucial in giving victims a voice in the criminal justice process. 

“The code also now includes restorative justice, which can be a vital tool to help victims cope and recover from the effects of crime.   We will be undertaking a number of activities internally to ensure that all officers and staff are aware of the code and what is expected of them in terms of the service they provide to victims.”

The publication also includes the duty on criminal justice agencies to ensure complaints from victims are handled appropriately, including multi-agency complaints.

The PCC wants to hear from victims about their experiences and has launched an online survey at www.consultation.avonandsomerset.police.uk

From October 2014, many victims’ services will be commissioned by Police and Crime Commissioners.

To find out more about the Victim Code of Practice visit the Ministry of Justice website http://www.justice.gov.uk/

To read the Written Ministerial Statement click here

You can read the Victims Code of Practice here

Posted on Tuesday 29th October 2013
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