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Victims Of Crime

Volume 405: debated on Monday 19 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of victims of crime for which an offender is brought to trial are informed of (a) the date of the trial and (b) the outcome of the trial. [112105]

No statistics are gathered on the percentage of victims of crime who are kept informed of the trial date and outcome of the trial. The 1996 Victim's Charter states that, if a victim chooses, the police will give them this information. There are pilots taking place, or planned, in several parts, of the country to establish better ways in which the police and the Crown Prosecution Service can keep victims better informed and to provide better services to them generally.One of our 2001 manifesto commitments was to legislate for a Victims of Crime Bill during the course of this Parliament. The Bill, which will be introduced as soon as parliamentary time allows, is likely to include a statutory victims' Code of Practice to replace the Victim's Charter. The Code will place some 70 to 80 obligations on criminal justice agencies to deliver specific services to victims and within prescribed deadlines. The obligations will include the police informing victims of trial dates and their outcomes. If the obligations in the Code are net delivered, victims will have an avenue of complaint to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration. We plan also to legislate for a Commissioner for victims, not only to oversee the effectiveness of the Code and protect victims' needs within the criminal justice system as a whole, but also to promote their interests across Government more widely, in areas such as, for example, health, housing and social security.