Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens has emphasised her continuing commitment to victims by adopting two pledges which will influence the standards of care victims receive.
Recently Sue has signed an International Victims’ Pledge and adopted a Victims’ Manifesto to show her support for victims and raise awareness of the standards of care they should be receiving.
The International Victims’ Pledge was funded in part by the Ministry of Justice to ensure that a European-wide minimum standard of care for victims is applied consistently. In signing the pledge Sue has undertaken to help make sure that victims of crime and their families are:
- Treated with dignity and respect
- Provided with appropriate safeguards at all stages of the criminal and restorative justice processes
- Supported and empowered to know their rights.
You can find out more about the EU’s directive on victims’ rights here.
The Victims’ Manifesto that Sue’s signed was created by the University of Leicester. It follows two years’ of research by the Leicester Hate Crime Project looking at the experiences, needs and expectations of victims. As a result of the study a manifesto set out the needs and expectations of victims whose lives have been directly affected by hate crime. You can read the Victims’ Manifesto in full here but key principles include:
- Organisations should simplify reporting procedures and make them more victim-friendly.
- Hate crime awareness campaigns should be publicised in more appropriate community locations.
- Third party reporting mechanisms should be located, staffed and publicised appropriately.
- Organisations should engage more extensively with different groups and communities.
- Voluntary and tailored community services should be supported and properly resourced.
Speaking about why she signed the pledges, Sue said: “I want to make sure victims are at the heart of the criminal justice service and these pledges underline my commitment to them. Just as importantly, I hope it also encourages other people to think about victims and maybe even sign up to a pledge themselves.
“A lot of work is already being done to support victims and this includes the launch of six newly commissioned support services in April. I’m also very supportive of increased use of restorative justice and victim impact statements to give victims a louder voice and the opportunity to talk about how their ordeal affected their lives.
“There remain challenges for us to overcome and although victim satisfaction is good in Avon and Somerset we must work hard to increase it further. These pledges are a timely reminder for me, and for the police, that there’s still more to do.”
Putting victims first has been a priority for Sue since she was elected as Police and Crime Commissioner in 2012. You can find out more about this priority, how it’s being delivered and performance in this area in the 2015-17 Police and Crime Plan.
Posted on Thursday 21st May 2015