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Starmer: Current justice system is not fit for victims

Rape victims and abused children could face greater protections when questioned in court under plans to be drawn up by Keir Starmer.

Former chief prosecutor Keir Starmer. Credit: ITV News

The former chief prosecutor told ITV News the current justice system is "not fit for victims".

He added: "Most people, particularly vulnerable victims or witnesses don't have the confidence to come forward because they don't think that criminal justice can help them."

Mr Starmer said he would advise Labour on introducing legislation, should it win power in 2015, to give greater protections to vulnerable witnesses in court.

As director of public prosecutions, Mr Starmer had to be politically neutral. But since he stood down, there have reports that he is planning to move into politics.

Agencies 'must to more' to ensure rights of victims

It is essential that the police, courts and other agencies do more to ensure that the rights of people affected by crime are at the heart of the criminal justice system, the chief executive of independent charity Victim Support said. Javed Khan added:

Victim Support welcomes any initiative that seeks to deliver better treatment for victims and witnesses and we look forward to using our experience from contacting more than one million victims every year to contribute to this review.

As director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC introduced significant improvements to the way the criminal justice system treats victims and witnesses and we welcome the opportunity to work closely with him once more.

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Government 'considerably improved' victim support

The Government has considerably improved the support given to vulnerable victims and witnesses in court, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justice has said, as plans for greater protection for victims were unveiled. The spokeswoman added:

This Government has considerably improved the support given to vulnerable victims and witnesses in court, including trialling pre-recorded cross examination, strengthening support for child witnesses and investigating how we might reduce the distress caused from multiple cross examination.

Victim protection will give public 'greater confidence'

Shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan has said proposals to give victims of abuse better protection, would give the public greater confidence in the criminal justice system. He said:

Whether it's the father of Milly Dowler treated in court like a criminal, the 13-year-old victim of sexual abuse labelled a 'sexual predator' by a judge, or the victim only finding out their attacker has been released from prison by bumping into them in the supermarket, our justice system is failing too many victims.

Victims represent some of society's most vulnerable people. That's why we need nothing short of a transformation if we are to deliver a criminal justice service that supports members of the public who have been innocent victims of crime through no fault of their own.

Starmer: Victims entitled to have rights enforced in law

Former Chief Prosecutor Keir Starmer QC, who is to draw up plans for rape victims and abused children Credit: PA

Victims are entitled to have their rights clearly set out and enforced by a victims' law, former chief prosecutor Keir Starmer has said, as plans for greater protection are drawn up.

Mr Starmer said: "This is a golden opportunity to recast the criminal justice system as a criminal justice service fit for victims. But it will only succeed if there is an attitude-shift across criminal justice.

"Those delivering criminal justice have been on the back foot for far too long when it comes to victims' rights."

Ex-chief prosecutor Starmer in victim protection role

Rape victims and abused children could face greater protections when questioned in court under plans to be drawn up by former chief prosecutor Keir Starmer, Labour said today.

Mr Starmer, director of public prosecutions until earlier this year, will also look at making it a legal obligation for the police and prosecutors to keep crime victims informed about the progress of investigations.

New abuse guidelines aim to prevent suffering in the future Credit: PA

There have been a number of high-profile cases where vulnerable witnesses have faced the harrowing ordeal of having to relive their experiences in detail under cross-examination in court.

Today, Mr Starmer said he would advise Labour on introducing legislation, should it win power in 2015, to give greater protections to vulnerable witnesses in court.

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New Hall allegations emerge ahead of sentence review

New sexual abuse allegations against Stuart Hall come a week after the former presenter's jail sentence was referred to the Court of Appeal for review, following complaints it was too lenient.

Hall was last month sentenced to 15 months in jail after admitting 14 counts of indecent assault, relating to girls aged between nine and 17.

Police say they are investigating new sex crime allegations against Stuart Hall Credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

The Attorney General referred the disgraced broadcaster's case after receiving about 150 complaints arguing the sentence was "unduly lenient".

One of the Hall's victims, Susan Harrison, told ITV News she kept the abuse secret for many years for fear of not being believed.

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Stuart Hall faces new sex crime allegations

Stuart Hall faces new sex crime allegations Credit: ITV

Police are investigating new sex crime allegations made against Stuart Hall.

The former broadcaster was jailed last month for sex attacks on children - the youngest, aged 9. Hall, who is 83, is serving 15 months for those offences.

Lancashire Police told ITV: "We can confirm that we have received further allegations against Mr Hall and we are working closely with the Crown Prosecution Service to determine the most appropriate course of action."

"We take all allegations of sexual abuse seriously and we would encourage people with any information about sexual abuse or who has been a victim of sexual abuse to come forward and report their concerns."

Teenage victims of domestic violence to be recognised

Teenage victims of domestic violence and abuse will be officially recognised as victims under Government plans, Nick Clegg will say today.

The Home Office is widening the definition of domestic abuse to include those aged 16 and 17 as well as a wider range of coercive or threatening behaviour, Clegg will say.

But campaigners warned that more funding is urgently required to help support the highly vulnerable victims.

A Young People's Panel will be set up by the children's charity the NSPCC to work with Government on domestic violence policy.

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