Victim's Families Impact Statement Scheme 'A Success'

A pilot scheme giving families of murder victims a chance to tell the court how the death has affected them has proven to be a success, according to research published today by the Ministry of Justice.

The Victims Advocates Pilot evaluation measured the success of the new initiative to allow victims' families to have an impact statement to be read out in court. The publication marks the one-year anniversary of the decision to extend the key elements of the pilots nationally under the Victim Focus Scheme.

The Victims Advocate Pilots enable a meeting to take place between the prosecutor and the victim's family, pre-trial, to explain the processes and assist in making a Victim Personal Statement. These statements include the impact the crime committed had on the victim's family.

Justice Minister Maria Eagle said: "By giving bereaved families the chance to make a statement about the impact of violent crime on their lives we are strengthening their voice and making criminals fully realise the consequences of their actions.

"The initiative underlines the Government's determination to put the needs of victims at the heart of the criminal justice service, a point stressed this week by Justice Secretary Jack Straw."

The scheme is part of wider Government reform to address the needs of victims and witnesses.

Since October 2007 the Crown Prosecution Service's Victim Focus Scheme has been open to families of murder or manslaughter victims and those killed as a result of: dangerous driving, careless driving whilst unfit through drink or drugs, careless driving and driving while unlicensed, uninsured or disqualified where cases are heard in the crown court.


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