The county’s new victims’ commissioner has pledged to put victims first.
And police commissioner Adam Simmonds has established a victims’ commission, which will be called Victims’ Voice and will look across all the current services which support victims of crime to examine whether these services fully understand and meet their needs.
It will be led by Angela Sarkis, the new victims’ commissioner, who is well known nationally for her work in the crime and justice field.
She said: “I am delighted to be leading this ground-breaking work in Northamptonshire. Over the next few months we will be talking to organisations right across the county who aim to represent and speak up for victims of crime. And we especially want to hear from individual people who have been victims of crime who can tell us about how they have been treated and how they think the system can be improved. These views will be treated in confidence and the more people we hear from the more valid our conclusions are likely to be.”
Adam Simmonds said it will ‘champion restorative justice approaches,’ while ensuring that these are geared to the needs of victims of crime and support their wishes. The drive will also identify options for driving a ‘faster and more victim-friendly courts system.’
Mr Simmonds said that new ways of listening to victims of crime will be explored so that their needs are fully understood and acted on.
He added: “I have said from day one that I intend to put the victim of crime first, offering the help and support they require. Proper protection and support for victims of crime is fundamental to my vision of a reformed criminal justice system and better policing.
“No one chooses to be a victim of crime, but none of us is free from the possibility that one day, without notice, we could become victims of crime.
“Many of our citizens will have experienced the trauma of having lives turned-upside down through car crime, burglary, violence, domestic abuse, identity theft and in many more ways. But while we do not choose to be victims there are those in our society that choose to make crime a way of life.
“Victims of crime must be able to rely on swift, sure justice which punishes offenders properly, and on intelligent justice which demands that offenders face up to the causes of their behaviour, protecting future victims from similar trauma.”
People who have been victims of crime can contact Victims’ Voice by writing to Angela Sarkis at the Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commission, Wootton Hall, Northampton NN4 OJQ, through the website www.victimsvoice.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
All information will be treated in the strictest confidence.
The victims’ commissioner will publish her findings in September.