Criminal Proceedings: Victims

Ministry of Justice written question – answered am ar 12 Mawrth 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Kevin Brennan Kevin Brennan Shadow Minister (Victims and Sentencing)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent assessment his Department has made of the efficacy of its data collection systems in regard to victims.

Photo of Laura Farris Laura Farris Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

There are two main services for victims, the Domestic Abuse Safety Officer Service and the Victim Contact Scheme.

The Probation Service runs the Victim Contact Scheme (VCS) for victims of offenders convicted of serious violent or sexual offences, who are sentenced to twelve months or more imprisonment. It has carried out changes in 2021 to ensure efficacy of its systems in relation to data collection to support the Victims’ Code of Practice.

There is also ongoing work to develop a set of national performance measures which can be used to measure the impact of the scheme and inform future development and decision making.

A change to the referral process in 2021, outlined in the Victims’ Code of Practice, now directs that victim’s contact details are automatically sent to Probation Service Victim Contact Units. These details are then recorded on the Probation Service Victim Contact Management System. This ensures timely offers of the VCS to victims, allowing them the choice of whether or not to engage in the scheme. To ensure the receipt of referrals, Probation staff also run reports from court and probation systems to ensure the receipt of qualifying cases. Figures from the Victim Satisfaction Survey linked to the scheme continues to show positive satisfaction of above 80% from victims who engage in the scheme.

To date, there has been no evaluation of the effectiveness of the Domestic Abuse Safety Officer service. This is a service that is offered to all victims and new partners of people attending Probation Service-run domestic abuse rehabilitation programmes. In July 2023, a national case management database was launched. This is a robust system, which enabled efficient collation, monitoring, and analysis of victim data. There is ongoing work to develop a set of national performance measures which can be used to measure the impact of the scheme and inform future development and decision making.

Furthermore, in September 2023, the new digital service to apply for criminal injuries compensation was made available to 100% of applicants. The number of questions asked as part of applying for compensation was reduced where possible - by 20-30% on some application journeys - compared to the older service we replaced.

This approach was supported by user research and trauma-informed practice, to ensure the data we are collecting is proportionate and required to enable the decision-making process - for example, we removed the mandatory need for victims to describe the nature of the incident as part of the application process, to reduce the risk of re-traumatisation.

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