Multi-million pound pledge to fund victim support services


The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has promised to spend more than £440 million on victim support services over the next three years.

The announcement comes as the Government prepares to publish more criminal justice scorecards, looking at how prosecutors and police are performing throughout the country.

The first national ratings, designed to expose where the criminal justice system is failing, were published last year.

Local scorecards will be published on Friday, including information on the time taken for cases to be investigated by police, for someone to be charged and for the case to be concluded at court. Particularly, the data is expected to show how reports of rape and sexual violence are handled.

It’s appalling that three in five victims don’t report crimes and a third pull out of prosecutions before they see justice done

Dominic Raab

Ahead of their release, Justice Secretary Dominic Raab revealed 60% of victims do not report crimes to police and a third drop out during the prosecution process.

“It’s appalling that three in five victims don’t report crimes and a third pull out of prosecutions before they see justice done,” Mr Raab wrote in the Daily Telegraph.

Dame Vera Baird, the Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales, said: “For many victims of crime, seeking justice can be an unacceptably slow and frustrating experience. But there are marked differences across the country and some areas notably outperform others.”

The scorecards will “expose weak links” but are not a “panacea” and “numerical snapshots do not tell the whole story”, she warned, adding: “They will need to be complemented by the victims’ voice to provide a more rounded picture .”

Emily Hunt, independent adviser to the Government on victims, said: “Too many victims are still being let down. In some areas of the country progress is being made but in many, many others we need to do better.

“Prosecution rates for rape have to go up. Giving everyone access to this data, on a local level, will be part of making sure they do.”

At present funding for victim support services is confirmed annually but there have been calls for longer-term funding commitments so charities and providers can plan for the future.

The agreement will see at least £147 million per year offered up to 2025 to fund “emotional, practical and therapeutic support” for victims of crime.

Dame Vera Baird, Victims Commissioner for England and Wales (House of Commons/PA)

(PA Archive)

Domestic abuse commissioner Nicole Jacobs said: “For too long domestic abuse services have been forced to lurch from one short-term financial settlement to another and I am delighted to see the Ministry of Justice is addressing this issue.”

Meanwhile, measures to help spare victims of rape and modern slavery the trauma of giving evidence in the full glare of a courtroom will be rolled out in the North East.

Known as Section 28s applications, these allow victims to have their cross-examination recorded earlier in the process and outside of the live trial, subject to the court approving the request.

This will be introduced in crown courts in York, Grimsby, Hull, Bradford and Teesside in the coming weeks, with other parts of the country planned for a later date.

The measures are already in place in Liverpool, Leeds, Kingston-Upon-Thames, Harrow, Isleworth, Wood Green and Durham crown courts.

Dame Vera said introducing section 28s in more courts was a “positive move that will help to reduce unnecessary stress and trauma for more victims”.

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said: “We want more victims to have the confidence to come forward, so that more criminals can be prosecuted and victims can get the justice they deserve.”


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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