The new panel will include people who have suffered from crimes such as burglary, anti-social behavior and hate crime, or who are survivors of victims of serious violent crime.My question is why create such a body? I realise that this post is likely to provoke a nasty reaction from some of the readers of this blog, but I do not understand what our government beleives it will achieve by setting up such a panel. I have read through the proposals that victims should be able to address Courts upon the impact of a defendant's behaviour if convicted, I have also read the proposals that victims should form part of the Parole Board panel that decides if a convicted prisoner can be released from prison. I have yet to see the results of the victims advocate pilot.
It will examine the way victims and witnesses are treated and the way their experiences are handled by the criminal justice system, and then make formal recommendations for changes directly to Ministers.
The panel is a critical part of the government's commitment to put victims at the heart of the criminal justice system.
Emotional and practical support
Home Office Minister Gerry Sutcliffe said that, while crime is at record low levels, people are still victimised and their rights must be protected. 'Being a victim or witness of a crime can have a severe and damaging effect. We will ensure that victims have the emotional and practical support they need.'
The panel will work to ensure that victims feel the system is on their side as they go through the difficult process of giving evidence and working with police and prosecutors to ensure that criminals are brought to justice, he said.
Constitutional Affairs Minister Rt Hon Harriet Harman agreed adding, 'Crime victims must get the support they need from the criminal justice system.' The advisory panel, she said, 'will represent the needs of victims, whatever their circumstances.'
Hearing their voices
Kathryn Stone, the panel's spokesperson, is also the chief executive of Voice UK, a national charity for people with learning difficulties who have been victims of crime. She said the panel will provide a critical service.
'Too often the voice of the victim is not heard properly, or not heard early enough. We are looking forward to being the voice of victims of crime at a crucial stage - when policy is first being developed.'
The judicial system that exists in the UK has been developed over centuries. One of the key parts to the judicial system is that both the defence and prosecution are adequately represented, and that their submissions to a Court are judged by appropriately trained and qualified judicial office holders. If victims are to be given control of our criminal justice system why have a Court in the first place? Bring back public floggings and hanging. There will be no need for a trial!
Victims of crime deserve to have their voice heard, that is why the Prosecution exists, to put forward the victim's case in Court.