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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

March 30, 2010: First Victims' Commissioner

Louise Casey has been appointed as the new, independent Victims' Commissioner, Justice Secretary Jack Straw has announced.

The Victims' Commissioner is an independent role appointed through an open recruitment exercise. The Commissioner will report to the three Criminal Justice Ministers and will be accountable to Parliament as Chair of the Victims' Advisory Panel - victims of crime who advise ministers on how we can do things better.

The announcement comes in the context of a package of reforms designed to improve the support and services available to victims and witnesses, which is a core plank of the government's strategy to personalise and improve the criminal justice service and ensure it is firmly on the side of the law-abiding citizen.

The landmark introduction of the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime in 2006 provided a guarantee to victims of crime of the level of service to which they are entitled.

The appointment of Louise Casey as the first Victims' Commissioner builds on the wide range of improvements for victims and witnesses put in place over the past ten years. These include the introduction of the first ever National Victims' Service (created in January 2010), which guarantees all victims of crime and anti-social behaviour referred by the police more comprehensive and dedicated support, giving victims a louder voice in court through the introduction of the victim personal statement, trebling the funding available for victims' services in the voluntary sector and introducing special measures which make it easier for vulnerable witnesses to give evidence.

The Victims' Commissioner role will include:

  • working across the criminal justice system to improve the support for victims and witnesses, including victims of anti-social behaviour
  • chairing the new Victims Advisory Panel and working with local and national victims groups to make sure the voice of victims is fed-back to and impacts directly on Government policy
  • reviewing the code of practice for victims of crime, which provides a guarantee to victims of crime of the level of service they are entitled to.

The Victims' Commissioner will build on the invaluable work conducted by Victims' Champion, Sara Payne, who over the course of the last year sought the views of victims and witnesses across England and Wales and brought their experiences and thoughts of the criminal justice system straight to the heart of government.

This work resulted in the vital report, Redefining Justice, published last November, which has already helped to shape government policy. One of the report's main recommendations was that victims must be treated as individuals with individual needs. In January we committed to this, with the creation of the National Victims' Service, which will give victims' assistance from the moment they report a crime until the moment they say they no longer need help.

The Victims' Commissioner will drive forward further change, acting as a representative for victims and witnesses right across the criminal justice system and at the highest levels of government.

Louise Casey, Victims' Commissioner, said:

'I am honoured to have been asked to take on the role of Commissioner for Victims. As anyone who knows or has worked with me, the way the criminal justice system deals with victims of crime has been something I have felt passionately about for a long while and I am very much looking forward to the challenge. I hope to continue to work closely with Sara Payne who has been a huge force for good in her work as the Victims’ Champion.'

Justice Secretary Jack Straw said:

'Louise Casey's appointment is a crucial part of the government's commitment to deliver a fairer and better-balanced criminal justice service - appropriately punishing criminals and offering more support to their victims.

'Victims are the most important people in the criminal justice system. We must always ensure that their voice is heard loud and clear. I know that Louise will be an excellent advocate for them and that she will hold the Government to account on the services and support we provide to them.

'It is important to say that this role has been made possible by the invaluable work of the Sara Payne. Her report as Victims' Champion is already helping to shape the new National Victims' Service, and I know she will continue to provide an important and tireless voice for victims. I wish her well as she continues her recovery.'

Sara Payne was appointed as Victims' Champion on 26 January 2009. This was a time-limited advisory role for approximately one year. The Victims' Champion was appointed to keep the focus on victims’ issues while we amended the legislation setting out the role of the Victims' Commissioner.

Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, said:

'I am delighted with the appointment of Louise Casey as the Victims' Commissioner - it is a fantastic step forward in continuing to ensure that we have a fair criminal justice system that is firmly on the side of victims.

'As the government's Crime and Justice Advisor, Louise brings a wealth of experience to the new role, having built on the recommendations she made in her Cabinet Office review about how to give better support to victims and ensure the public get a better deal from the criminal justice system.

'She has worked tirelessly to tell the public what standards they should expect from the police, ensured that the money seized from criminals is paid back into community projects decided by the public and made it clear how people can find out more about crime and policing in their area. Her success in rolling out visible Community Payback out across the country has meant that justice is not only done, but seen to be done. I wish Louise every success in her new role where I am sure she will give victims a clear voice at the centre of the criminal justice process.'

The Attorney General, Baroness Scotland QC, said:

'Louise Casey has an impressive track record of fighting the victim's corner in all her work to improve the criminal justice system. Her advocacy has been energetic, focussed and effective. I am confident that she will drive this agenda further forward in this new role.

'I would like to add my thanks to Sara Payne for the valuable contribution she made as Victims' Champion.'

The appointment commences today, Tuesday 30 March 2010.