Victims can confront criminals

Victims of crime for the first time will be allowed to directly confront the offenders who damaged their lives in court. Under a new code, victims will be able to choose to explain how a crime has hit them by reading out a Victim Personal Statement.

Baroness Newlove welcomes new Victims' Code

Baroness Newlove, whose husband Garry was killed by a gang vandalising his car, welcomed the revised Victims' Code, which she said "helps clarify the rights of victims and the levels of service they should expect".

Baroness Newlove said: "The onus is now on criminal justice agencies to deliver on their promises

Victims' Commissioner Baroness Newlove
Victims' Commissioner Baroness Newlove has welcomed the new code. Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

"As Victims' Commissioner I will be championing those who take their commitments under the Code seriously and challenging those who don't."

The Victims' Code will come in to force in December.

New Victims' Code 'ensures victims have a voice'

National policing lead on victims and witnesses, Assistant Chief Constable Gary Cann, said the decision to allow victims to confront criminals in court would "ensure that victims have a voice in the criminal justice system".

Until now, judges have read personal statements in private with only fragments read aloud to the court by prosecutors.

The new Victims' Code will for the first time give businesses, who are victims of 9.2 million crimes committed each year, the chance to write an impact statement.

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Victims can confront criminals in court for first time

Victims of crime for the first time are to be allowed to directly confront the offenders who damaged their lives in court.

The gold statue of the figure of justice, holding scales and a sword, on top of the Old Bailey in London.
Victims of crime will be able to read out a Victim Personal Statement in court under the new code. Credit: Clara Molden/PA Wire

Under a new code, victims will be able to choose to explain to the court and offender how a crime has hit them through reading out a Victim Personal Statement.

Judges will then take this in to account when determining the sentence, the Ministry of Justice said.