Court room

Victims should be protected from fiery court battles, says adviser

By: Information Daily Staff Writer
Published: Monday, April 7, 2014 - 12:43 GMT Jump to Comments

Victims of personal or sexual violence should not be left traumatised by lengthy and probing defence questioning, Sir Keir Starmer has said.

Labour's adviser on victims’ issues, Sir Keir Starmer, has this week urged the criminal justice system to consider serious reform in order to protect victims and witnesses of personal violence.

Writing for the Guardian, the former chief prosecutor argued that victims’ rights have previously only been discussed with regards to sentencing. Their poor treatment, he says, frequently deters victims from seeking help at all.

Sir Starmer, a member of the Labour-founded Victims’ Taskforce, will today set out “wide terms of reference for its review”.

Included in the recommendations is an obligation for those working with children to report suspicions of child sexual abuse. Sir Starmer says that the proposed initiative “cannot be left in the ‘too difficult’ box forever”, despite concerns about how it can be enforced in practice.

Victims often fear attending a police station to make a report, he also claims. To address this he says specialist clinics with trained staff should be made available, as has been seen in Manchester.

To protect victims in court, he recommends that a fundamental shift in culture be enacted, ending the commonly fierce relationship between prosecution and defence.

Fiery courtroom scenes, Sir Starmer says, have “obvious downsides” for vulnerable victims and witnesses.

The proposed victims’ law would come into effect should Labour win the 2015 general election.

Comments

Latest

Outdated infrastructure and an increasingly fragmented market threaten the future of technology-enabled integrated care.

County Durham voters back devolution in the North-East, Sir Digby Jones considers run for West Midlands mayor…

The recent launch of The Mayoral Tech Manifesto 2016 on London’s digital future, sets out a clear agenda…

The manufacturing industry is currently facing scrutiny from parties concerned for its survival. Far from facing…

Almost a year ago, I made some predictions for what would take place in government and public sector customer…

Sheffield, Warrington and Doncaster announce cuts, Lincolnshire is held to data ransom, fight begins for West…

Working for an education charity delivering numeracy and literacy programmes in primary schools, I’m only…

Northamptonshire County Council recently received the maximum four star rating from Better connected after putting…

Historically, the entrance of new generations into the workplace has caused varying levels of disruption. The…

Following another commendation for digital services, Surrey County Council's Web and Digital Services Manager,…

We cannot carry on spinning the roulette wheel that is cyber security, knowing that the “castle and moat”…

This week David Cameron wades into row over £69m of cuts planned by Oxfordshire CC; Stoke on Trent plans…