Dan Jarvis MP, Labour’s Shadow Justice Minister, commenting on the Government’s response to the Victims’ Code consultation, said:
“If this Government really wanted to put victims first, they should follow the lead of Labour and commit to a Victims’ Law. Only by enshrining clear enforceable rights in an Act of Parliament will our criminal justice system treat victims and witnesses with the proper dignity and respect they deserve.
“Victim Impact Statements were introduced by Labour, and have a really important role to play in conveying to courts the anguish and harm the crime has inflicted. But the Government’s Victims’ Code will do nothing to ensure that the impact statement is offered to the victim in the first place, and is made available in the court on the day of the hearing. With their toothless code, there’ll be no one taking charge of the Impact Statement, meaning it continues to be sidelined.
“Labour have consistently called for the introduction of a Victims Law which will champion the rights of victims and witnesses. We would legislate for this and ensure that, for the first time, a Victims Law would provide the cultural change across our Criminal Justice System which is desperately needed.”