Response to proposals for revising the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime
The RJC has submitted a response to the Ministry of Justice regarding their proposals for revising the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime. Whilst this first consultation raises some important points, there are areas which require further thought and consideration within the second consultation.
We are concerned that within the Victims Strategy it is stated that only 4% of victims (where an offender had been identified) were aware that restorative justice had been offered. The Ministry of Justice should, within the second consultation, focus on how it will improve this figure. This should include a clear strategy for ensuring that restorative justice is fully explained to victims at an appropriate time by an appropriately trained professional, and by utilising existing Independent organisations, such as the RJC, to raise the public profile of restorative practice.
We agree that PCCs should work with their local criminal justice partners to adapt victim guidance to reflect the local offer for victims. The RJC receives regular enquires from both victims and referral agencies regarding access to services across different PCC areas, having access to clear guidance on the services being provided across each PCC area will ensure that victims and agencies are provided with transparent information.
The RJC recognises that accountability processes are evolving and agree that the proposals within this consultation will provide a more transparent overview of the services being delivered within each PCC area. However, the RJC are concerned that the availability of some services, specifically safe and effective restorative practice, are inconsistent. Devolved funding, previously allocated by the Ministry of Justice for the delivery of restorative practice, has been consumed within funding allocated to each PCC for the delivery of victim services. This has impacted on the number of providers being contracted to deliver restorative services, leading to some areas not providing access to restorative services. The proposal set out within consultation requires PCCs to publish the local offer, the RJC believes that PCCs should also be required to publish their rationale for not providing or funding entitled services.
Read our full response below