OUR COMMENT ON THE VICTIMS CODE OF PRACTICE
- November 25, 2020
- Posted by: Aran Knowles
- Category: Uncategorized
The Victims Code Of Practice (VCOP) has been revised and re-published for 2020. The updated document is available for download at the following link: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/936239/victims-code-2020.pdf
As many readers will know, our CEO Robin Lockhart is the current Vice-Chair of the Victims Reference Group that meets at City Hall in London. Through Unity is proud to have been a small part of the process of revising this important document and wants to extend our thanks to Claire Waxman (The London Victims’ Commissioner) and also to the Victims’ Commissioner for England & Wales Dame Vera Baird (and her predecessor Baroness Newlove, who is a member of Through Unity) as well as to those Through Unity Members who commented on the drafts during the revision process and suggested changes.
Although Victims Rights and the VCOP itself are not yet enshrined in law, this revision is a vital first step towards creating a system of support for victims of all crimes.
For members of Through Unity, we would like to draw your attention to page 10 of the VCOP document where “Enhanced Rights” are clarified.
“This Code acknowledges that victims who are considered vulnerable or intimidated, are a victim of the most serious crime (including a bereaved close relative) or have been persistently targeted are more likely to require specialised assistance (some victims may fall into one or more of these categories). Such support may include being offered a referral to a specialist support service, being contacted sooner after key decisions and having access to special measures (see Right 4) Within each individual Right this Code highlights where such Enhanced Rights apply.”
As our name suggests, we strongly believe that it is only ‘Through Unity’ that we can have the positive impact that we all want to see in our community in terms of improving the provision of support for victims. Whilst we support this new revision of the VCOP, we also invite you to support us and other vital services for victims in our work to ensure that the services that victims rely on not only remain available, but are improved. Sadly, during these challenging times of Austerity Cuts and COVID-19, we have seen many of the services that are so essential to victims at their times of need either reduced or closed! This has left our society in a situation where although the ‘Right’ to be referred to a ‘service provider’ is there, we often find that either the waiting list is very long or that services are vastly reduced or non-existent.
Please do share the link widely so that as many of us as possible become aware of our rights as victims of crime.