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Support for Victims of Crime in Court

Volume 664: debated on Tuesday 8 October 2019

15. What steps he is taking to ensure the provision of adequate support for victims of crime in court. (912607)

The Government are prioritising support for victims through the criminal justice system and beyond, and we are committed to tackling poor criminal justice outcomes for them. Just last month, my right hon. and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor and I took part in a roundtable at Downing Street to discuss support for victims of rape. Victims and stakeholders highlighted the importance of support in their engagement with the criminal justice system.

The Minister will be aware that the recent consultation on the code of practice for victims of crime has recently closed, and she will be considering representations. Will she look closely at the greater use of criminal compensation orders for the victims of child sexual abuse? They are used in a woefully small number of cases, so vulnerable people have to re-live the trauma either through a private prosecution or through the criminal injuries compensation scheme.

Compensation orders are an important power. The purpose of the order is to pay the victim compensation for any personal injury, loss or damage caused by an offence, and they allow courts to ensure that offenders make financial reparations to victims where possible. As part of our review of the victims code, we will be considering the recommendation on raising awareness of criminal compensation orders made by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

The hon. Member for Ashfield (Gloria De Piero) is leaving the House voluntarily at the next election to the very considerable detriment to Ashfield and to the House, so it would be discourteous of me not to hear her.

Support for victims is not good enough, so can I appeal to the Government to change the law to remove the automatic entitlement of joint assets from those who have attempted to murder their partners? The case I am working on sees the perpetrator demand £90,000 from the woman he attempted to kill, or, as she puts it, a £3,000 reward for every stab wound.

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her question. I suggest that we perhaps meet after this session, when she can outline a little more about her case.