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Monday 20th of August 2018

Press Room

Victims' Commissioner of England and Wales bemoans lack of resources for vulnerable victims in court

Friday 19th of January 2018
Juvenile Justice in the world

In a report published on 17th January, the Victims' Commissioner of England and Wales, Baroness Newlove of Warrington, highlighted the shortage of experts available to help vulnerable victims of crime, such as children, give evidence in court, thereby preventing them from being able to offer sound testimony against their attackers. 

In the report, the Victims’ Commissioner called for additional financial support for the system of Registered Intermediaries (RI). The role of Registered Intermediaries is to enable those who have problems communicating, such as the young or those with learning difficulties, to give coherent evidence in court.

Registered Intermediaries, according to the report, are "invaluable in giving vulnerable victims and witnesses a voice in the criminal justice system (CJS) and in turn, providing them with equality of access to justice. Police and CPS users of the Witness Intermediary Scheme (WIS) are positive about the impact of RIs, and have supplied several case studies which demonstrate their impact in enabling the communication of vulnerable victims and witnesses."

However, the report concludes that ´the WIS is under resourced and lacks the managerial and governance structure required to provide a professional and consistent service for all those who need it.´

In light of her conclusions, Baroness Newlove called for the establishment of a national RI service alongside an urgent recruitment drive.

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