Victims of Crime
MOPAC's Victim Support Responsibility
Early in 2014, MOPAC commisioned an Independent Review of Victims’ Services, led by
Baroness Newlove, the Victims’ Commissioner, to prepare for their new victims of crime
commissioning responsibilities; which commenced on 1 October 2014.
According to the separately commissioned London Crime Victims survey, crime victims in London, "...two-fifths of
London’s victims currently think that the criminal justice system fails
to provide them the support that they need, and over a quarter feel that
the views of victims and witnesses are not taken into account."1
The Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) is now responsible for commissioning over £15m of victim services in the coming 18 months. Following the Newlove review of victim services in the capital , MOPAC "will focus this funding on putting the victim at the centre of support services in the capital." Targeting:
- support for young people and victims of hate crime, particularly those with disabilities,
- work to reduce repeat victimisation and improve the way victims’ data is recorded, and
- share data to build a more complete picture of how to help individuals cope and recover from their experience.
The Newlove review contained 13 recommendations to improve support for the victims of crime and to address the changed responsibility for the commissioning of victims services from central to regional goverment.
In the press briefing below, the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Stephen Greenhalgh said: “The Mayor's Office is taking over control of funding victims services in London so we can do more than ever to help victims cope and recover from crime, with support geared towards the individual. That means more support for the most vulnerable, more support for those who don’t have the confidence to come forward and report offences and more support for those who are at risk of becoming repeat victims. Crime is coming down in London but there is still a lot of work to be done. With responsibility for funding, we can now direct money to where it is needed and make sure that we commission tailored and more integrated services for London's victims.”
Victims Referral Services
With Ministry of Justice support, from 1 October 2014, MOPAC was also responsible (as an 'early adopter') for the commissioning of the victim referral mechanism and associated services, which includes the initial transfer of details from police to provider, the initial contact and needs assessment, and any subsequent support from that provider. These will be managed using the Victims’ Services Commissioning Framework introduced in May 2013 (which seeks to encourage a focus on how victims can be positively supported rather than just looking at how many victims are offered services).
Alongside this, the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime (VCOP) guides the commissioning by providing a list of services that victims of crime are entitled to and includes minimum standards of service that must be adhered to. It also gives victims the opportunity, through a Victim Personal Statement (VPS), to write and read a statement explaining how their crime affected them. Both of these will be further supported by the introduction of the EU Victims Directive in 2015, which sets out ‘minimum standards on the rights of victims and include provisions requiring Member States to ensure that victims have access to victim support services’. It also aims to give victims clarification on what they are entitled to from criminal justice agencies and ensure that services are tailored more effectively to individual needs.