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Support for Victims

Volume 728: debated on Tuesday 21 February 2023

The Government have consulted on the draft Victims Bill and have now responded to the Justice Committee’s excellent prelegislative scrutiny of it. Alongside that Bill, which we will bring to the House when parliamentary time allows, we continue to invest in victims’ services, as I set out in response to the previous question.

A survey by the former Victims’ Commissioner revealed that less than half of victims who had made a police report would do so again, due to their traumatic experiences. Victims are important, but seven years and six Justice Secretaries since the victims Bill was first promised, it still has not made it to the statute book. Will victims ever be a priority for this Government?

I am grateful to the hon. Lady, with whom I normally have a measured interaction on these issues. We have been clear in our commitment to the victims Bill, and we have been clear that we will bring it forward as soon as parliamentary time allows. It is a priority for my right hon. Friend the Lord Chancellor.

I say gently that this party and this Government put the needs of victims front and centre. We have massively increased the support and funding they receive. Through the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022, we have ensured that courts have the powers that they need to give tougher sentences to ensure that victims get justice. The Opposition talk tough, but when it comes down to it, as we saw with the PCSC Act, they fail to back victims and to put their votes where their mouths are. They talk; we get on with delivering for victims.

A staggering 3,000 incidents of antisocial behaviour take place every day, with almost 20 million people having experienced it last year. With the Government allowing this behaviour to fester and go unpunished, when will Ministers finally appoint a Victims’ Commissioner to champion the rights of victims of ASB?

I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on being drawn in the ballot to ask a similar question to the one that he asked at the last Justice questions. The Victims’ Commissioner is a hugely important role, so it is right that we follow due process and ensure that we get absolutely the best candidate installed, as he would expect. That process is ongoing, and I look forward to a Victims’ Commissioner being appointed shortly.