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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

January 27, 2010: National Victims' Service

Justice Secretary Jack Straw has announced details of the new National Victims' Service in a speech at the Royal Society of Arts today. The details of the National Victims' Service are the next stage of reforms aimed at ensuring the justice system is on the side of the law abiding citizen.

The speech comes a week after the latest figures showed crime continuing to fall, breaking the pattern of previous recessions, with the lowest murder rate for a decade and the British Crime Survey showing the chances of being a victim the lowest since records began.

The National Victims' Service guarantees all victims of crime and anti-social behaviour referred by the police more comprehensive and dedicated support. The first stage will begin helping families bereaved by murder or manslaughter from March 2010. This will provide intensive support, care and attention, tailored to their individual needs, beyond the conclusion of any investigation or trial.

They will be given a named, dedicated support worker, who will meet with them regularly to identify their needs and liaise with the authorities on their behalf. The individual may need immediate practical assistance – for example with security, or childcare, or making bill payments – and will be helped through all of this. Emotional support and expert assistance will also be offered where needed – counselling, for instance, or legal and financial advice.

In view of the importance of the the new Service, Crimlinks is publishing the entire speech.

"I would like to begin with a few words about Sara Payne. Everyone here will know that Sara fell seriously ill just before Christmas."

"In her 12 months as Victims' Champion, Sara has been a powerful advocate for the rights of victims, bringing to bear all her natural wisdom and the experience from her terrible tragedy a decade ago. Through her recent report – 'Redefining Justice' – Sara has made sure that victims' voices are not lost but better heard. Sara's ideas and recommendations – born out of her own experiences and her conversations with one thousand victims, witnesses and criminal justice staff around the country – are enormously important. I shall return to them later."

"I'm sure I speak for everyone here today when I say that our thoughts are with Sara and her family."

"In my last speech to the RSA in October 2008, I asked the question: for whom ultimately is the criminal justice service here to serve? My answer was quite clear: it is here to serve the public; the taxpayers who fund it, the communities protected by it. That may seem blindingly obvious, but in my experience as Home Secretary and now Justice Secretary, parts of the system do not always remember this."

"However obvious, the answer has implications for how many offenders we have and how we manage them. There was a powerful view around in the 80s and early 90s in the face of rising crime that there was really nothing much governments could do about it. It was all to do with external factors. There was a similar and related view that not much could be done about schools' performance. But we have shown in the last decade and more what defeatist nonsense this all was. A combination of policies – especially more police and great work by them – has turned the apparently inexorable trend around. The doomsayers were at it again when the recession began, front page headlines claiming that crime – and especially acquisitive crime like burglary and robbery – was bound to rise."

"The result is that crime has fallen, partly because we have both toughened and made more intelligent our approach to offenders. They must be held to account for their actions, but given the chance to change. As I have said: punishment and reform."

"My answer has implications for the way we involve communities in criminal justice. Communities are now given a say in the types of Community Payback projects offenders carry out, and in how cash seized from criminals is put to use. High visibility vests allow the public to see offenders working and making amends for their behaviour. And people can go online, type in their postcode and find out the facts about local crime and what the police are doing. This is about improving confidence in criminal justice and making the service more open, responsive and accountable to the public."

"The answer also has clear implications for the way we treat victims of crime. I spoke last time of my frustrations with the criminal justice lobby's preoccupation with the 'needs' of offenders and how I wanted to see greater attention focused upon the needs of victims."

Continued on page 2