Prosecutors will meet with victims before making a decision on pressing charges, under a new Government plan.
The Department of Justice (MoJ) said the move would make meetings a ‘clear requirement’ for certain crimes under the Victims Act of England and Wales.
It added that the law would give victims a ‘greater voice’ and encourage police, courts and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to be more supportive.
Neighborhoods may also have the opportunity to describe how crime has affected their area under the plan, which outlines how community impact statements can be used in cases antisocial behavior – similar to a system used in Canada.
A consultation on the reforms was launched on Thursday, when the Government released the performance scorecard for criminal justice agencies for the first time.
The survey is asking for views on what types of crimes respondents think should ask prosecutors to meet victims.
The minimum Victims Surcharge – the penalty fee charged to offenders directed towards funding support services – could also be increased to £100.
Sometimes it can be as low as £22 for a case resulting in a conditional discharge.
Attorney General Dominic Raab – one in three ministers forced to self-isolate on Thursday – said the country had a ‘moral obligation to do better for the victims’ and that they should all feel supported.
Laying out the plans in the Commons, justice minister Tom Pursglove said: ‘I want to make sure that victims are at the heart of the criminal justice system rather than feeling peripheral to the process.
‘At every level we have to do even better because when things get serious, too many victims feel that the criminal justice system is not delivering justice for them.
“And too many people feel frustrated by the system, which takes away the pain and suffering from the original crime.”
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Mr Pursglove vowed the Government would provide ‘credible change’ and give victims ‘a stronger voice at every stage of the criminal justice system’.
The new laws aim to include ‘clear expectations for the quality of service that police, prosecutors and courts must provide’.
They also aim to secure more convictions, prevent further crime, and make neighborhoods safer.
But the MoJ warns that there will be a ‘clear path to resolution’ if victims do not receive the support they are entitled to.
The Commissioner for Victims of England and Wales, Dame Vera Baird, welcomed the plans, branding them ‘a once-in-a-generation opportunity to drive real cultural change, demanding that the the agency must see, hear and help the victim – if necessary, with real consequences if this does not happen’.
The first performance scorecards showing that the criminal justice system is “failing” with victims shows that court delays in rape cases have increased this year.
The document, the first to collect previously published data in one place, will now be released quarterly, with a breakdown by locale expected next year.
The government said the figures would be used to drive a ‘significant increase in prosecutions’ but some campaigners expressed concern about the way the information was presented, saying it needed to be clear. clear and easy to access.
Legislation will be introduced after consultations close on February 3.
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https://metro.co.uk/2021/12/09/victims-set-to-meet-prosecutors-before-decisions-on-charging-suspects-are-made-15747762/ Victims will meet with prosecutors before making a decision to charge the suspect