30/03/2010

First Victims' Commissioner Appointed

Louise Casey has been appointed as the UK's first independent Victims' Commissioner, Justice Secretary Jack Straw announced today.

Today's announcement comes as part of a package of reforms designed to improve the support and services available to victims and witnesses.

The Victims' Commissioner will work across the criminal justice system to improve the support for victims and witnesses, including victims of anti-social behaviour.

She will also chair 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.

Ms Casey will in addition be charged with 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.

She said: "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..

Justice Secretary, Jack Straw, said: "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."

He paid tribute to 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."

(PR/BMcC)

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