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Victims of Crime

Volume 511: debated on Tuesday 15 June 2010

19. What steps he is taking to ensure that the interests of victims of crime are effectively represented in the criminal justice system; and if he will make a statement. (2234)

The coalition Government’s aim is to establish a criminal justice system that rebuilds public confidence in the system and ensures that our streets are safe. The rights and welfare of the victim are vital to this. The Government are dedicated to ensuring support for victims and witnesses. We want to involve voluntary sector victims groups more and harness their ideas and innovation to help us to improve support.

A constituent of mine, Jean Taylor, set up the charity, Families Fighting for Justice, after the murder of her son and daughter. Can the Minister assure her, and many others in similar situations, that these charities, which are filling the gaps in the justice system to provide support for victims of crime, will have sufficient transparency and lines of communication open to his Department in order to carry out their work?

I am happy to assure my hon. Friend of that. Charities and voluntary groups set up to promote the interests of victims are immensely important, and I would be delighted to meet the group concerned. Consistent with the proposals for a big society that we have been setting out for some time, we want to find ways to ensure that such groups have a voice, and give victims a voice, in the criminal justice system.

We are reviewing all these arrangements to promote the interests of victims. I welcome the appointment of the Victims Commissioner and the work she will embark upon. We are aware of the important work that the National Victims Service is planning to do.