Victims are being overlooked by the criminal justice system, says a new Fabian Society report. Edited by Sadiq Khan MP, the shadow justice secretary, the report features contributions from a panel of experts brought together to inform the conclusions of the Labour Party’s policy review.
The report says victims are often treated as bystanders as their cases proceed through the courts, whereas they should be central to the criminal justice process – not only because they deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, but also because their co-operation and trust is vital for it to function effectively and bring offenders to justice.
Read the full report here
Khan writes: “Victims are too frequently kept in the dark about the details of a trial, access to court papers are often difficult to obtain and complex legal processes difficult to understand, all of which can and should be remedied quickly and at little cost. But when victims report that their encounter with the justice system was more traumatic than their encounter with the perpetrator of the crime against them, it is clear that a more significant shift in attitudes to and treatment of victims is required in the justice system.”
‘Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime’ was more than a clever soundbite, it was a successful approach to criminal justice policy that left crime 43 per cent lower when Labour departed office than when it entered. Punishment and Reform: How our justice system can help cut crime addresses the challenge of how Labour is to build on this legacy and further reduce crime, but within the tough spending constraints imposed by straitened times.
The report includes a chapter by Barry Mizen who, along with his wife Margaret and the rest of their family, set up the Jimmy Mizen Foundation following the murder of their son in May 2008. Other authors include Lord Victor Adebowale, Baroness Jean Corston, Dame Helen Reeves, Professor Julian V Roberts and Matthew Ryder QC.
For more details, visit the Fabien Society publications page.