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Witham: MP calls for victims' law
1:00pm Tuesday 22nd October 2013 in News
Witham's MP Priti Patel is calling for a Victim’s Law to set out how those affected by crime must be treated.
Ms Patel released the report, Rebalancing the Scales: Prioritising the Victims of Crime in the Criminal Justice System, at an event in the House of Commons.
She claims that for too long the scales of justice have been tipped in favour of the criminals and it is no longer good enough to say how victims should be treated, but instead a law is needed to say how they must be helped.
In the report she calls for improvements in six areas, including all victims being referred to a support service within 24 hours of making a complaint.
Victims must also be told why a decision has been made to charge, caution or take no action and similarly be consulted about parole applications, release from prison any subsequent recall to prison.
Ms Patel also believes it must be a legal right for crime victims to make an impact statement, to have to it read out in court and for it to be taken properly into account by judges when they pass sentence.
She asks that witnesses are supported by their employer if they need time off work to give evidence or help with a case.
She said: “Some of these points are already contained in the existing Code for Victims.
“But backing them by law would a huge step forward.
“Without it, I fear many people whose lives have been blighted by crime will see little real improvement in how they are treated.”
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