Government plans to introduce victims pledge card after campaigning by Sarah Champion MP.
Sarah Champion, Member of Parliament for Rotherham, welcomed the Government’s ‘Proposals for revising the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime’ which sets out plans to adopt her policy of a pledge card for police to provide victims of crime that informs them of their rights and signposts them towards further support and information.
In her role as Chair of the APPG on Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse, Sarah Champion has been pressing Government to improve the quality and availability of information provided to victims about the impact of abuse, the criminal justice process and their rights to updates and specialist support.
The APPG, which consulted nearly 400 victims as part of its research, found victims described a feeling of ‘being in limbo’ as they were forced to chase police for updates and were unclear of where they could access support. Nearly half of victims said they were not told what the next steps with their case would be after reporting abuse.
The Government proposes that the pledge card will set out victims’ key entitlements and websites where they can access information and be signposted towards local specialist support.
Commenting, Sarah Champion said:
“Victims have been telling me time and again they are being let down by professionals who do not provide timely or relevant information about pursuing justice or accessing specialist counselling.
I am delighted the Government is taking steps to improve the information police give to victims when they report a crime.
It might seem like a small change but reporting violent or sexual crimes can be a traumatising experience for victims and it is often very difficult to take on board information police might provide at the time about the criminal justice process.”
Notes to Editors:
Proposals for revising the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime
The APPG’s second report: ‘Survivors’ experiences of police and the Crown Prosecution Service.’ (July 2019).