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Victims Law

Volume 639: debated on Tuesday 24 April 2018

Supporting victims of crime is a priority for the Government and we have made a commitment to publish a victims strategy by this summer. The strategy will set out our cross-Government approach to make fundamental improvements for victims. It will also consider how compliance with the entitlements in the victims code might be improved and better monitored, and how criminal justice agencies responsible for the delivery of entitlements might be better held to account.

The Minister has promised us a strategy by the summer, but a victims law was offered in the 2015 Conservative manifesto and included in the following Queen’s Speech and reiterated in the 2017 general election. When will this long-promised law finally see the light of day?

We are considering both legislative and non-legislative measures. If any legislation is required to underpin the victims code, we will bring it forward when parliamentary time allows.

With respect to victims of domestic abuse, will the Minister consider women who are not eligible for legal aid to help with their divorce after domestic abuse, including women who currently fail the means test due to their having a share in a valuable family home? Will he meet me to discuss the problems that such women face in paying for basic legal advice?

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for the question. Yes, he has a point with regard to the funding of domestic abuse cases from legal aid. My ministerial colleagues are fully aware of this issue, and I am more than happy to meet him.

Mr Speaker,

“Why should victims always have to be fighting their corner? That’s why we need a victims’ law.”

They are not my words, but the words of the Government’s Victims’ Commissioner. Can we be clear: will she and all the other people who are calling for it get a victims law?

My intention in the strategy is to outline the legislative requirements needed to underpin the victims code. By definition, that is a victims law.