Key Links



Death Penalty


Justice System





Practitioner Links

Domestic Violence

Mental Disorder

Restorative Justice

Sex Offenders

Substance Misuse



News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

September 29, 2009: National Victims Service

Families of murder and manslaughter victims are to benefit from a boost in practical and emotional support, after Justice Secretary Jack Straw announced proposals for a new National Victims Service, beginning with a service for those affected by murder and manslaughter. The National Victims Service, which will be introduced during this financial year, will begin its work by offering one-to-one tailored support to all those bereaved by murder or manslaughter to help them cope with the trauma of losing a loved one to crime.

The government is providing an extra £2 million this financial year to the national organisation, Victim Support, to provide the service, ensuring that bereaved families are offered the services of an individual support worker who will:

  • conduct a personalised needs assessment for family members
  • provide specialist emotional, practical and financial support, responding to the individual needs of bereaved relatives
  • liaise with criminal justice agencies on behalf of the family
    help families to access additional services such as legal services, financial advice and post-traumatic stress disorder counselling
  • deliver updates from the criminal justice agencies involved in the investigation in order to ensure that the family are aware of and fully involved in the progress of the case
  • continue to provide support post sentence.

An extra £8.5 million will be available for allocation for the next financial year. Justice Secretary Jack Straw said:

'Losing a loved one is a traumatic and life changing experience. It is therefore imperative that effective support systems are created to help bereaved families through this terrible time.

'Over the past ten years a solid platform of support for victims of crime has been built. But now it is time to go even further. The Victims Service will achieve this by providing one-to-one care and support for victims – in the same way that the probation services provides end to end management of offenders.

'We will start with those families whose lives have been torn apart by murder or manslaughter. But our eventual aim will be to extend the service to everyone who has been a victim of crime. If they want more support we will be there for them.'

Victim Support Chief Executive Gillian Guy said:

'This is welcome news. Victim Support can now deepen the help we provide for the thousands of people affected by homicide or manslaughter each year. When people's lives fall apart, we will work with others to make sure they get the support they need.'

There are around 800 murders each year in England and Wales, creating in the region of up to 3,000 people who have lost a loved one to murder and manslaughter each year.

The introduction of the National Victims Service will provide further strength to current government initiatives that aim to heighten support to bereaved victims. These include police Family Liaison Officers, an enhanced level of service from the Victims' Code, and the direct offer of a pre-trial meeting with prosecutors via the Crown Prosecution Service Victim Focus Scheme. There is also a provision for personal and social legal advice to be provided to bereaved families through a helpline.

In January 2009, the government also appointed Sara Payne as the Victims' Champion to represent victims' views at the highest level across government. This role will in due course be replaced by a new statutory Victims' Commissioner and builds on the success of the Victims Advisory panel which already advises the government on victims issues.

The government currently provides £36 million to Victim Support and some smaller, specialist charities who offer existing services to those bereaved through murder and manslaughter. The new service will build on this provision.

The Witness and Victim Experience Study shows that victims satisfaction is at an all-time high, with 83% of victims and witnesses satisfied with their contact with the criminal justice system.