Victims should have more chances to meet criminals, Northamptonshire victims’ champion says

Adam Simmonds and Linda Lee
Adam Simmonds and Linda Lee

More money needs to be invested in setting up meetings between Northamptonshire criminals and their victims, the chair of a service for victims has warned.

Linda Lee, chair of Voice, an organisation for Northamptonshire witnesses and victims, was responding to measures contained within the Queens Speech to enshrine the rights of victims and witnesses in primary legislation, which she said do not go far enough.

She said more needs to be invested in restorative justice, for example, where criminals and their victimes are encouraged to communicate.

Mrs Lee said: “The Government could be doing more to reduce the impact of crime and also help to reduce crime. I want the Government to invest more in restorative justice and imbed it within all public sector settings.

“We know that for everyone pound invested in restorative approaches, ten pounds can be saved in the criminal justice system. But it is more than saving costs, it is a real chance to make victims whole and to repair the damage done.

“Victims want to see justice done, and they want to see the perpetrator punished but more than anything else they want to protect others from the experience they had to endure and they want a chance of recovery.

“Restorative practices satisfy both those very understandable desires.”

Mrs Lee, a solicitor and former President of the Law Society of England and Wales, said she was pleased to see that the Government has followed through on the commitment in its manifesto to victims and witnesses of crime.

However, she said it needs to do much more than simply put the Code of Practice on the Statute Books if it wishes to make a real and lasting change to meet the needs of victims and witnesses.