The Revised Code of Practice for Victims of Crime will come into operation on 1stApril 2021.The code will set out the services to be provided to victims of crime by relevant service providers. This comes after a Government consultation on Improving the Victims’ Code.The structure of the Victims’ Code has been defined as 12 rights that are easy for victims to understand.
The key changes in the revised Victims’ Code are:
Accessibility: The revised Code is simplified into one-chapter and victims are the primary audience.
Improved engagement: The frequency and method of communication is more victim led.
Victim Personal Statement (VPS): Victims are offered the opportunity to make a VPS under the revised Code, service providers have more flexibility on the timing of the offer, for example by offering the opportunity to make a VPS when a suspect is charged.
Support for victims of mentally disordered offenders: Victim Liaison Officers role has been extended to include support for victims of unrestricted patients. This brings greater parity in rights for these victims, ensuring consistency in the level of information and the way it is provided.
Access to Support – Awareness of Support: clearer information about the ability to access support:
- Without the need to report incidents to the police.
• At any time during the investigation and prosecution.
• If the case is stopped; orat the end of the case.
Specialist Support: service providers have the discretion to offer enhanced support to victims who fall outside the scope of the existing categories.
To ensure practitioners are clear on the rights, a separate document containing detailed information and guidance will be published for them – at the time of implementation (1 April 2021).