Police and Crime Commissioner backs call for more rights for victims

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, has backed calls by the Victims’ Commissioner for victims of crime to have more rights protected by law.

Victims’ Commissioner Dame Vera Baird has released a new report setting out what she wants to see from the UK Government’s new Victims Law. The UK Government has said it will consult on victim’s legislation in 2021.

Her paper sets out 34 recommendations, including a call for criminal justice agencies to be more accountable to victims, and for victims to be accorded participants rights to avoid them being treated like bystanders by the criminal justice system.

The report can be read on the Victim Commissioner’s website.

Jeff Cuthbert said: “Supporting victims is one of the key priorities in my Police and Crime Plan and I fully agree that new legislation is needed to give victims more rights throughout their criminal justice journey.

“I am particularly pleased to see the recommendation for rape victims to be provided with free legal help to stop excessive personal information requests, as we know this can be a barrier to people reporting these crimes.

“I also agree that it is important that victims of anti-social behaviour are treated as such and that are able to access vital victim support services. Currently victims of ASB fall between the cracks of available support and this is something that must be improved.

“I am proud that in many respects we are leading the way here in Gwent with the support we provide to victims. Gwent Police was the first force in Wales to bring a wide range of victim support services under one roof in our Connect Gwent victims’ hub, and we have also worked with Gwent Police to establish a Victims’ Board to scrutinise the delivery of services for victims and witnesses of crime. We are committed to continual improvement and plan to invest further in these services next year.”

If you have been a victim of crime, or witness to a crime, you can access support from Connect Gwent. You do not have to report this crime to the police to access these services. Contact 0300 123 2133 or email connectgwent@gwent.pnn.police.uk