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CJA comments on the government’s response to the Justice Select Committee’s pre-legislative scrutiny of the Victim’s Bill

This week the government responded to the Justice Select Committee’s pre-legislative scrutiny of the Victim’s Bill.  The government have agreed to take forward several recommendations, which we welcome:
  • Including bereaved families, children who have witnessed domestic abuse, and individuals born of rape in the definition of victim.
  • Putting an obligation on criminal justice agencies to make victims aware of the Code.
  • Requiring data to be standardised to allow comparison across police areas.
  • Requiring statutory guidance issued on the roles of ISVAs and IDVAs to include information on their role, function, and relevant training.
  • Strengthening the remit of the Victims Commissioner.

However not all of the Committee’s recommendations were accepted by the government. Nina Champion, Director of the CJA has said today:

We are very disappointed that the Ministry of Justice has rejected the Justice Committee’s recommendation to include a ‘right to access restorative justice services’, which was a key recommendation of the CJA and many of our members. They state that as RJ is always voluntary for all parties, they do not consider that a right to access restorative justice is practical or appropriate. The intention of the recommendation was not a right to have a restorative justice conference, but a right for victims to be referred to a restorative justice service so they can receive information to make an informed decision about RJ and be supported to cope and recover. The CJA will continue to work with officials to clarify this and seek to put down amendments to the Bill in due course.