New code to treat victims ‘as people not a number’
Under the new code, victims will be able to explain to the court and offender how a crime has hit them through reading out a Victim Personal Statement. This will then be taken into consideration by judges when determining the sentence.
The move fits exactly with the radical re-think of existing victim services in Staffordshire. As deputy police and crime commissioner, I was tasked to review and reform current practices “so that victims of crime are treated as people, not a number”.
At the top my agenda is putting the victim first and achieving the best outcome for them – whatever the scenario.
Work is already well advanced with support agencies across the county – including the voluntary sector – to provide a single gateway to a clearly mapped-out support route for victims.
I welcome this decision which gives victims the choice to explain to a court in their own words the personal and emotional impact a crime has had on them – a process known to help victims recover and cope better.
This is a big step towards what we are trying to achieve in Staffordshire to make the system fit the individual, rather than the person fit the system – one that treats victims with dignity and respect.
The new Victim’s Code will also give a “real say” to the businesses hit by 9.2 million crimes each year – enabling them to write an Impact Statement to explain to the court how crime has affected them.
Latest statistics over a seven year period show that 276,000 crimes have cost county businesses nearly £433 million in theft, damage and consequential loss at a rate of more than £7,000 an hour.
Fraud alone costs companies in this country £9.1 billion with business going under as a result of crime. Yet only 10 per cent of business crime is ever reported to the police which is in part due to a lack of confidence that anything will be done about it.
Who supports business when they going through this trauma? It is our duty to look after the economy when it is under attack.
Businesses have different needs to individuals who, in the main, are treated well by the authorities in the aftermath of a crime. We want to ensure firms are better served when they find themselves the victim of crime.