Bookmark and Share
06/07/2011

New Law Presented For Bereaved Families

The Victims' Commissioner, Louise Casey, will today call for a new law which will put into statute rights for families bereaved by homicide.

The move follows a six-month review by Ms Casey, into the treatment of families who have suffered the ultimate loss at the hands of criminals, but who often don't get the support, care or consideration they deserve.

Ms Casey's report, which includes the largest ever survey of bereaved families, calls for a law which will set out rights that the criminal justice system should afford families as well as the practical help and support they should receive.

The Victims' Commissioner said: “I have met many families who have had loved ones murdered and they talk about how the legal process was almost as traumatic as the crime itself. This can't be right. We ask people not to go out and take the law into their own hands. We ask that people come to court and give evidence so that nasty people can be locked up. In return, the criminal justice system needs to do better.”

Ms Casey continued: “Families deserve to bury the body of their child without defence lawyers asking for autopsy after autopsy. They deserve not to have to sit next to the defendant's family in court listening to them laughing, or being intimidated by them. They deserve to be told that their husband's killer is going to be released before they bump into him in a supermarket. They deserve to be treated with some humanity in the witness box.

“Bereaved families have few rights, no real route of complaint, they are often given little information and sometimes treated as an inconvenience in a legal game. Now is the time for something concrete to be set out in law - promises are no longer good enough. The system must be levelled up so victims and bereaved families are no longer seen as bystanders or an inconvenience as the wheels of justice turn.”

The support package should include a dedicated homicide caseworker offering help and advice on issues like housing and child care proceedings.

There should be access to trauma and bereavement counselling from approved providers and a national network of peer support groups should be available to provide befriending and support for families.

Ms Casey has also called for a national protocol governing the police's review of cases which remain unresolved including how regularly they are reviewed and mandatory communication with the families concerned.

Recommendations in Ms Casey's report were informed by the largest survey of bereaved families ever undertaken. More than 400 families were contacted to inform her review and reveal the true toll of bereavement on families.

The report will be presented to the Justice Secretary Ken Clarke.

(BMcN)

Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

03 April 2003
Greater trans-Atlantic cooperation on law and order
Following the Home Secretary's visit to the US, the government has revealed new measures signalling a greater degree of trans-Atlantic cooperation over criminal justice and national defence. Earlier today, David Blunkett and the Lord Chancellor Derry Irvine today announced plans to support the development of US-style community courts in Britain.
12 May 2011
Costs Highlighted For Families In Crime Aftermath
Families who have lost loved ones due to crime are facing costs of £37,000 on average as they struggle to pick up the pieces, according to the latest survey.
08 February 2010
Bereaved Police Families Supported
Families of police officers killed in the line of duty are to get financial support through a new government-funded scheme, it was announced today. The Police Survivor Support Scheme will see up to £20,000 given to families left struggling financially after officers have been killed while keeping the streets of the country safe.
29 July 2015
Prisoner Transport Vans To Be Fitted With Cameras
All Metropolitan Police prisoner transfer vans are to be fitted with cameras in an effort to improve transparency and public confidence. Almost all of the force's current fleet of transport vehicles have been kitted out with five cameras, three microphones and two monitors.
01 June 2015
Independent Report Into Infant Cremations Published
An independent report into infant cremations at Emstrey Crematorium in Shrewsbury has been published today, Monday. The independent inquiry was commissioned by Shropshire Council at the request of bereaved families to look into cases where no ashes were returned to families following the cremation of a baby or unborn child at Emstrey Crematorium.
10 September 2012
£1.5m Investment Into Suicide Prevention Research
The government has announced an investment of £1.5m to explore how to prevent suicides among those most at risk of taking their own lives.
21 February 2011
Focus On IRA 'Harmed 70s Bomb Probe'
Police in Northern Ireland were so focused on the idea that the IRA was behind a 1971 bar bombing in a nationalist part of north Belfast that it was not properly investigated, a report has said. Fifteen people died in the McGurk's bar attack, the worst Troubles atrocity prior to the Omagh bomb.
25 January 2008
Blaze Death Firefighters Remembered
Warwickshire firefighters have attended a special memorial service to remember colleagues killed in a warehouse blaze last year. Ashley Stephens, 20, John Averis, 27, Darren Yates-Badley, 24, and Ian Reid, 44, died as the result of the fire in Atherstone-on-Stour on 2 November. About 1,400 people attended the service at Coventry Cathedral.
24 October 2007
British Legion Remembrance Campaign Launched
The Royal British Legion has launched this year’s fund-raising campaign to help its work supporting ex-servicemen and women and their dependents.
15 February 2007
7 July memorial to be held in Hyde Park
A memorial to commemorate the lives of the 52 people who died in the July 7 bombings is to be located in Hyde Park, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell announced today. The government had planned initially to build a monument in Tavistock Square, the site of one of the attacks, but after talks with families of the bereaved, Hyde Park has been chosen.
01 October 2003
Ladbrooke Grove train crash case to go ahead
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has begun its prosecution of Thames Trains Limited for alleged breaches of health and safety law in connection with the Ladbroke Grove rail collision. HSE made public its intention to prosecute both Thames Trains Limited and Railtrack PLC (now Network Rail) in March 2002.
21 March 2011
Streamlined Service To Help Bereaved Relatives
People across the UK dealing with the difficult situation of the death of a relative will now be able to check if they’re eligible for help with funeral costs or for other benefits in just one phone call.
11 June 2012
Ministers Expand 'Troubled Families' Scheme
Ministers have announced an expansion to a programme to tackle the problems of "troubled families". As part of the scheme local authorities get financial incentives to tackle some of the 120,000 families said to cost the taxpayer £9bn every year. Ministers have said they want to turn around these families' lives by 2015.
19 April 2012
Children's Society Warns Benefit Changes Could Leave Children Hungry
A children’s charity has warned that plans to simplify the welfare system could result in thousands of England's poorest children missing out on free school meals. The meals are linked to low-income benefits that are among those merging into a single Universal Credit in 2013.
20 March 2012
Badger Cull Scrapped
A controversial plan to cull badgers has been dropped by the Welsh government. The plan was hoped to wipe out bovine TB in cattle but environment minister John Griffiths said after carefully considering the scientific evidence he has instead opted to vaccinate the animals.