Having our victim/survivor voice heard

Over the past few years, many discussions have been had about the UK introducing a 'Victims Law' and earlier in 2020, government was called on to commit to making this happen (see here: The Guardian).
 
Dame Vera Baird, Victims Commissioner, has been incredibly vocal in this area and wrote to the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Rt Hon Robert Buckland, and set out proposal's for a Victims Law (see here).

Inspired by the Commissioners proactive engagement in this matter, Survivors Manchester's CEO, Duncan Craig, is reaching out to colleagues across Greater Manchester who are engaged in the Sexual Violence sector to hear the widest possible range of views on what they think should be in this Bill.

Using the Victim's Commissioner's research framework, Duncan would appreciate your insight on what the Bill might achieve for victims/survivors of Sexual Violence and has grouped this questionnaire by four aspects of a victim's experience of the criminal justice system.

Please don’t feel you need to come up with ideas for each question. Rather, feel free to answer as few or as many questions as you wish, and in as much or as little detail as you wish.

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* 2. Who are the 'primary' people you work with?

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* 3. Where is the 'primary' area of your work carried out?

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* 4. Thinking about victims/survivors experiences after the crime has happened, what do you think a Victims Law should include, such as access to support; the reporting process or investigation; the journey to court; the rights and provisions as a victim?

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* 5. Thinking about victims/survivors experiences and court, what support should victims/survivors be given at court and during the trial? What role should victims/survivors have in court? Should victims/survivors’ role be, simply, to be in court to provide evidence, to receive information about the sentence, i.e. sentencing remarks? But what else should their role be and what should they be provided as a participant in the court and during a trial?

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* 6. Thinking about victims/survivors' experience after a trial, such as with parole, probation services, compensation. Think very broadly about what the Victims Law should include in terms of victims’ experience after a trial. This could include provisions about appeals processes, parole hearings, the Victim Contact Scheme, or compensation. What other rights and provision should be given to victims? Why is this important, what is the benefit to victims?

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* 7. In regards to Victims Law,  what else should be included in the bill to make a difference to the experience of victims? Is there anything that should be considered that doesn't fit into the questions above? This might be about the enforcement of provisions of the bill, the role of the Victims’ Commissioner, or how criminal justice agencies monitor compliance with the Victims’ Code.

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* 8. If there was a wish list for the Victims Law and you could have one key provision included, what would that be? What are the reasons for this and what impact it would have on victims?

Thank you for taking time out in what is an extremely busy time of year anyway (being Christmas) but then all the extra added pressures of the COVID19 restrictions on top... your words and comments are really important and once we have collated them we'll publish on our website and send to Victims Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird, and to Deputy Mayor, Baroness Bev Hughes.
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