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Victims of Crime

Volume 635: debated on Tuesday 23 January 2018

The Government want victims to get the support they need to cope with, and as far as possible recover from, the effects of crime. We are spending £96 million in 2017-18 to fund critical support services for victims of crime. That includes £7.2 million for nationally commissioned rape support services.

John Worboys lived in Rotherhithe in my constituency and is not welcome back. He has not served the sentence he was given and was not prosecuted for the vast majority of his crimes. How are the Government working with victims, police authorities and the Crown Prosecution Service to ensure that sex attackers are prosecuted for their crimes, and how is the Ministry of Justice better ensuring that victims’ rights are upheld in future parole decisions?

The case of Worboys has troubled us all; it has troubled me personally—of course it has. In this particular case, Dame Glenys Stacey is investigating the review from a probation point of view. As the Secretary of State has already said, there are operational responsibilities with regard to where he is transferred to and the directions when he is released and where he can go. The Department is engaged with that on a daily basis.

The biggest insult that can be given to a victim of crime is the imposition of a derisory sentence on the offender. Will my hon. Friend update the House on his plans to widen the scope of the unduly lenient sentence scheme, as set out in the Conservative party manifesto?

As I am sure my hon. Friend is aware, the Government committed in their manifesto to consider the extension of the scope of the unduly lenient sentence scheme. My right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General is reviewing that.

We all know that, too often, victims are failed by the criminal justice system. That is presumably why, in 2015, the Conservatives matched Labour’s manifesto commitment to enshrine victims’ rights in a victims law. It is three years on. Can Ministers give me a single good reason why it has not happened?

After Easter my victims strategy will be published, as promised, and within it there will be recommendations on legislative and non-legislative measures, part of which will be the legislative underpinning of the victims code.