The Victims' Commissioner in her annual report touches upon an important question - funding.
The question of secured funding allocated to proven successful projects is important if we are to ensure victims are supported in the long term and not just during the life of one parliament.
The report picks up on two projects that i was pleased to see mentioned because i believe from acting for clients who have either been seriously injured or bereaved as a result of a road traffic collision that these two projects have improved how a victim is supported.
The victim personal statement sets out for the court the impact of the crime on them which in cases of fatal road crash is often prepared by the bereaved family who have been devastated by the loss of a loved one. I am always impressed how the specially trained police Family Liaison Officer will support the family to ensure the statement is produced. It is crucial that there is sufficient funding to maintain and build our specialist police roads policing units so that we retain the skill to help victims of road crime.
The Restorative Justice referred to in the report takes place by consent with the victim as well as the defendant who then meet to talk about the incident. Having acted for a family that was bereaved by a fatal road crash the key question they wanted answered was "why". Restorative Justice can provide answers to victims but again the funding needs to be in place to run these initiatives.
It, therefore, seems that there are a number of projects to put the victims of crime at the centre of the justice system but the key is to ensure appropriate funding is in place for a long term outcome.
Matthew Claxson is a Solicitor and a Partner at Moore Blatch who are a UK leading law firm. If you need legal advice after a road crash where you have either suffered serious injury or been tragically bereaved then contact Matthew on 0800 157 7611 or firstname.lastname@example.org
“Whilst much has been achieved in improving services and support for victims, there is still so much more we need to do” the Victims’ Commissioner has today warned. She believes that the time has come for the Government to introduce a Victim Law, providing victims with statutory rights and proper redress if they are not adhered to.