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Crime: Victims

Volume 707: debated on Monday 26 January 2009

Statement

The Lord Chancellor and Secretary State for Justice, the Home Secretary, and I are today pleased to announce the appointment of Sara Payne MBE as victims’ champion.

The role of victims’ champion will be to:

listen to the views and concerns of victims and witnesses;

represent the views of victims and witnesses to Ministers, government officials and in the media; and

challenge criminal justice agencies to further reform their practices in relation to victims and witnesses.

The victims’ champion will be a new, time-limited appointment for one year to ensure continuing focus on victims’ issues while Parliament considers proposals in the Coroners and Justice Bill in relation to the separate office of Victims and Witnesses Commissioner. That Bill was introduced in the House of Commons on 14 January.

After the murder of her daughter Sarah, Ms Payne started a campaign to change the way in which sex offenders were dealt with and supervised in the community. Ms Payne has since worked closely with the Home Office on increasing the right of public access to information about known sex offenders.

Ms Payne was also instrumental in establishing the multi-agency protection arrangement (MAPPA) which ensures that a risk management plan is drawn up for the most serious offenders.

Ms Payne currently delivers training to specially trained police family liaison officers and has recently been awarded an MBE for her services to protection and work with Phoenix.