The Ministry of Justice has published its long-awaited Victims and Prisoners Bill which will protect victims’ rights and put a duty on local police, justice agencies, local authorities and health bodies to work together to collaborate and produce a strategy for victims in their policing area.
Survivors confidence in the justice system is already at an unprecedented low following appallingly low prosecution rates, long court delays, and the ingrained institutional issues highlighted in the Casey Review on the Metropolitan Police. Whilst the statutory footing for the Victim’s Code is positive, we are concerned that the Victim’s and Prisoner’s Bill will not be the step change that survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence need, and will not give the confidence that VAWG is a top priority.
Rebecca Goshawk, Head of Partnerships and Public Affairs said:
“The Victims and Prisoner’s Bill was an opportunity to join up victims’ rights to support services and recognise the significant need for more services and funding to meet the needs of all victims and survivors of male violence.
“It’s disappointing to see that the Bill does not create a duty for local areas to commission services according to local need, and the sufficient funding to do this. With over 70% of survivors of domestic abuse being supported in the community, we needed a commitment to multi-year sustainable funding with protected allocations for services run by and for Black and Minoritised women, Deaf and disabled women and LGBTQ+ survivors.
“We are also concerned to see that migrant victims are still being left without support and vulnerable to abuse. The Government needs to ensure that migrant victims with insecure migration status can safely report abuse without risk of immigration control, they will be excluded from any of the provisions in this Bill.
“Without changes to the Bill and a funding commitment, specialist domestic abuse and sexual violence services will continue to be underfunded and some survivors will be unable to get the support they need to build safe and independent lives.”
‘All women, victims and survivors need this reassurance to rebuild trust and to feel safe.’