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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

November 15, 2004: More Protection for Victims of Crime

Domestic violence accounts for 16 percent of all crime (according to Crime in England and Wales 2003/4).  The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Bill received Royal Assent today. The Act is the biggest overhaul of domestic violence legislation for 30 years and provides new powers for the police and the courts to tackle offenders, while ensuring victims receive appropriate support. The Act also creates a new offence of causing or allowing the death of a child or vulnerable adult.

The Act will ensure more offenders pay towards supporting victims. With a statutory code of practice providing a range of rights to victims and the establishment of an independent Commissioner, the measures in the Act can be viewed in the context of the Government policy to rebalance the criminal justice system in favour of victims.

Key provisions in the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act include:

  • Making common assault an arrestable offence.
  • Significant new police powers to deal with domestic violence including making it an arrestable, criminal offence to breach a non-molestation order, punishable by up to five years in prison.
  • Strengthening the civil law on domestic violence to ensure cohabiting same-sex couples have the same access to non-molestation and occupation orders as opposite sex couples, and extending the availability of these orders to couples who have never lived together or been married.
  • Stronger legal protection for victims of domestic violence by enabling courts to impose restraining orders when sentencing for any offence.
  • Enabling courts to impose restraining orders on acquittal for any offence (or if a conviction has been overturned on appeal) if they consider it necessary to protect the victim from harassment. This will deal with cases where the conviction has failed but it is still clear from the evidence that the victims need protecting.
  • Putting in place a system to review domestic violence homicide incidents, drawing in the key agencies, to find out what can be done to put the system right and prevent future deaths.
  • Providing a code of practice, binding on all criminal justice agencies, so that all victims receive the support, protection, information and advice they need.
  • Allowing victims to take their case to the Parliamentary Ombudsman if they feel the code has not been adhered to by the criminal justice agencies.
  • An independent Commissioner for Victims to give victims a powerful voice at the heart of Government and to safeguard and promote the interests of victims and witnesses, encouraging the spread of good practice and reviewing the statutory code.
  • Giving victims of mentally disordered offenders the same rights to information as other victims of serious violent and sexual offences.
  • Giving the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority the right to recover from offenders the money it has paid to their victims in compensation.
  •  A surcharge to be payable on criminal convictions and fixed penalty notices which will contribute to the Victims Fund.
  • Closing a legal loophole by creating a new offence of causing or allowing the death of a child or vulnerable adult. The offence establishes a new criminal responsibility for members of a household where they know that a child or vulnerable adult is at significant risk of serious harm.

Home Secretary David Blunkett said:

"Domestic violence is a horrendous crime which costs the lives of two women every week. Victims often suffer in silence and isolation and we are driving forward a change in culture so that everyone understands that domestic violence is never acceptable. The establishment of an independent Commissioner for Victims will give victims a powerful voice at the heart of Government. The Act will also give victims a range of rights for the first time and help to increase support for victims by making offenders pay more toward compensation."