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Dame Vera Baird welcomes Victims’ Commissioner’s annual report

20th July 2017

Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird QC, welcomed today’s publication of the Victims’ Commissioner, Baroness Newlove’s annual report and backs her calls for the government to introduce a new law to strengthen the rights of people affected by crime.

Baroness Newlove’s report has raised a number of concerns and highlighted evidence that victims are not always receiving their entitlements as set out in the Victim’s Code.

Dame Vera shares Baroness Newlove’s commitment to striving towards putting victims at the heart of the criminal justice system. She has established Victims First Northumbria (VFN) – a ‘one stop shop’ for victims of crime offering emotional and practical support, commissioned victim services dedicated to responding to victim needs and enhanced safeguarding training to improve police response and victims’ experience.

In her report the Baroness also supports a recently successful bid made by Dame Vera to the Home Office Violence Against Women and Girls transformation fund, part of which will be used to pilot a scheme offering the support of a “victims advocate” to women who are victims of violent or sexual crimes, a scheme supported by the Baroness in this report. 

Dame Vera agrees with the Baroness when she states: the time has come for the Government to bring forward legislation that would give statutory rights to victims.

She said: “It is important that victims remain at the heart of everything we do. I have ensured that the services offered by Victims First Northumbria deliver  tailor made support for victims of crime, which is the right thing to do, as by doing this we always ensure we offer the best care and support.

“I will continue to work closely with those affected by crime and those who provide support services to victims and their families. A high percentage of victims of crime are satisfied with the service they receive from Northumbria, however, concerns raised in this national report will be fully reviewed and where possible, addressed through improved training and revised processes, and I will be joining Baroness Newlove in her efforts campaigning for improved victim rights.”

Dame Vera is a member Baroness Newlove’s national Victims Forum.