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Victims of Crime

Volume 487: debated on Tuesday 3 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what proportion of victims of crime reported satisfaction with the criminal justice system in each of the last 10 years. (252815)

From 2003-04 to 2007-08, victim satisfaction with the criminal justice system (CJS) was assessed through the British Crime Survey (BCS), as part of an overall measure of victim and witness satisfaction. The BCS is a survey of the general public and includes a question to those members of the public who have been victims or witnesses about their experience of the CJS. The following table shows results for England and Wales from the last six months of 2003-04 to the end of 2006-07.

Victim and witness satisfaction with the CJS (British Crime Survey)

Period

Percentage

6 months to March 2004

58

Year ending March 2005

59

Year ending March 2006

59

Year ending March 2007

60

Since 2008, the public service agreement for the CJS has changed to use the Witness and Victim Experience Survey (WAVES) to measure victim and witness satisfaction with the CJS. WAVES surveys victims and witnesses whose cases resulted in a charge being brought. The survey was introduced to give more detailed feedback about the experience of victims and witnesses. Unlike the BCS, WAVES gives both national and Local Criminal Justice Board-level data and contains many more questions about every aspect of the CJS.

The following table shows results for England and Wales from 2007-08 (the latest available data).

Victim and witness satisfaction with the CJS (WAVES)

Period

Percentage

Year ending March 2008

80

There are a number of reasons why there is a disparity between the two sets of figures. The BCS is a survey of the general public and although it interviews nearly 50,000 people, this includes only a relatively small proportion of victims whose cases have gone all the way through the CJS. WAVES focuses specifically on victims whose cases have got to the stage of a charge being brought or beyond, and interviews nearly 40,000 victims and witnesses. Hence the two surveys sample different groups. The BCS and WAVES also use different measures of satisfaction. The BCS defined satisfaction as the percentage of victims who were fairly or very satisfied with the contact they had with the CJS. WAVES gives victims the choice of three different levels of satisfaction defining overall satisfaction as the percentage of victims who were fairly, very or completely satisfied with the contact they had with the CJS. This is the standard scale now used by most customer satisfaction surveys and allows a more detailed breakdown of different levels of satisfaction.