Ministers urged to introduce 'Victim Law' for those affected by crime

Conservative Party Conference Continues

The Victims' Commissioner has called on ministers to introduce a new law to strengthen the rights of people affected by crime.

Baroness Newlove said the time has come for the Government to bring forward legislation that would give statutory rights to victims.

Statistical and anecdotal evidence suggests they are not always receiving their entitlements as set out in the Victims' Code, the commissioner warned.

She has previously raised concerns over the proportion of victims offered the chance to take part in justice schemes that bring them into contact with criminals and make personal statements for court hearings.

Publishing her annual report for 2016/17, she said: "Victims deserve better. I want to know that every victim receives all of their entitlements and that these are delivered with sensitivity and respect."

Any law for victims should offer the opportunity to give them a more established position within the criminal justice system, with a set of core rights that are on the face of statute, according to the report.

Baroness Newlove said: "I hear all too often that victims are at the heart of the criminal justice system.

"For many victims, this feels more like rhetoric than reality. A Victim Law is the next step if we are to achieve a culture change, whereby victims are formally recognised as an integral part of our criminal justice system."

Her report highlights the needs of those who have suffered from historical sexual abuse, trafficking and modern-day slavery.

It also expresses alarm at the rapid rise in cyber crime and raises concern at the number of people who suffer as a result of persistent anti-social behaviour.