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Victims Bill scrutinised by Justice Committee

26 May 2022

The Justice Committee launches a new inquiry that will see MPs scrutinise the Government’s draft Victims Bill.

Published on 25 May, the Government has stated that the Bill will amplify victims’ voices in the criminal justice process, improve the support victims receive and strengthen oversight of criminal justice agencies such as the Crown Prosecution Service, Probation Service and police.

The Justice Committee will examine the draft Bill to assess the adequacy of its policy objectives and key provisions.

Chair's comment

Sir Bob Neill, Chair of the Justice Committee, said:

“The Committee welcomes the opportunity to closely examine and make constructive recommendations on this draft legislation. We hope the Bill, and our contribution, can lead to improved outcomes for victims in the criminal justice system, which can prove stressful, complicated and painful for members of the public in the wake of traumatic experiences.” 

This inquiry will be undertaken at the Ministry of Justice’s request, as part of a formal process of pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Victims Bill. 

Terms of reference 

The Committee invites written evidence on whether the draft Bill meets the Government’s aim of delivering a cultural shift in victims’ experiences by putting their interests at the heart of the justice system.

The Committee also welcomes evidence on the points listed below. Find out how to submit evidence here. The deadline for submissions is Friday 10 June 2022. 

  1. The Bill’s definition of ‘victim’.
  2. The Government’s proposal to put the overarching principles of the Victims’ Code in primary legislation and set out key entitlements in secondary legislation, consulting on changes to the Code once the Bill is in force. 
  3. The key changes the Government should consider making to the Victims’ Code, including consideration of those already proposed by the Government in its response to the consultation.
  4. The Government’s proposals to amend the role of the Victims’ Commissioner.
  5. The Government’s proposals to place a duty on the relevant criminal justice agencies (the police, the Crown Prosecution Service, HM Courts & Tribunals Service, Youth Offending Teams and HM Prison and Probation Service) to collect data and keep under review their delivery of the Code. 
  6. The Government’s proposals on the role of the inspectorates, including an improved focus on victims, and a new power for the Government to direct aspects of their work.
  7. Whether the legislative steps proposed by the Government will lead to an improvement in the commissioning of support services?
  8. Whether the steps outlined by the Government will lead to increased awareness and effectiveness of ISVAs and IDVAs?
  9. What implementation, resourcing and accountability challenges exist with respect to the Victims Bill?
  10. Whether there any relevant international examples the Committee should consider?
  11. Whether the provisions of the Bill could have any implications for due process? 
  12. Whether there should be any further measures included in the Bill?

Further information

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