Today, (9 September) Dame Vera Baird QC, Victims’ Commissioner published findings of a new survey which reveals victims are losing faith in the criminal justice system, with the survey suggesting less than half of victims would report to the police again based on their experience of the justice system.
The survey features responses from almost 600 victims and reveals many victims expressing disappointment with the criminal justice system, especially the court process and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS): 83% said they didn’t have confidence in the effectiveness of the CPS in prosecuting those accused of a crime.
The survey finds just 43% of victims would report a crime again based on their previous experiences of the criminal justice system. Just half would attend court again,down from 67% in 2020.
66% of victims told the Victims’ Commissioner they had to wait too long before their case came to court and only 9% of victims thought the courts dealt with cases promptly.
The survey also found that victims most want to be ‘treated well’ by the criminal justice system: 48% said that having the crime fully investigated was the most important or second most important factor for them, with 38% saying being treated fairly and with respect by the police was most important or second most important factor to them.
However, only42% felt they had been treated fairly and with respect by the police, with many feeling their reports hadn’t been taken seriously and there was a lack o faction by the police.
There was an alarming difference in victims’ experiences with the police according to the victim’s ethnicity. Only 33% of those from an ethnic minority background felt the police treated them fairly and with respect, as opposed to 44% among those from a white background.
Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen said: “I was shocked to read the findings of the Victims’Commissioner for England and Wales report ‘Victims’ Experience Annual Survey’and see how badly victims are being let down by the criminal justice system.
“This survey highlights the needs of victims which require addressing urgently. We need to empower victims as I have set out in my draft Police and Crime Plan to put the voice of victims at the centre of everything we do.
“As PCC I am committed to ensuring victims feel valued and confident in reporting crime to the police and as Chair of the Local Criminal Justice Board, I will work with partner agencies to increase public confidence in the criminal justice system and provide victims with the best possible experience and support throughout the whole process.
“The appointment of a Victims’ Champion is the first of many actions I intend to make to ensure victims of crime are getting the support they need. The Victims’ Champion will play an important role in supporting the independent scrutiny of victims’ experience across the Criminal Justice System and encourage multi-agency action to address issues raised by individual victims.”
Dame Vera Baird QC, the Victims’ Commissioner, said: “As this survey shows, victims want to be treated with fairness and respect by the police, for the crime to be investigated and to kept informed of the progress of the case.
“These are hardly arduous asks – indeed, they are very clearly rights to which victims are entitled as set out in the Victims’ Code. But time and time again, the police,CPS and other justice agencies have been found wanting, with the CPS, in particular, shown to be inconsiderate of victims’ needs. All too often victims are still treated as an afterthought – a bystander to proceedings, rather than the valued participant they should be.”
Full report can be read found at : https://victimscommissioner.org.uk/
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