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Justice agencies lack human decency when it comes to complaints

Complaints process for victims almost as bad as being a victim

27 January 2015

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Justice agencies are failing to treat victims who raise complaints over their treatment with empathy or patience, leaving victims feeling ignored, a new report has revealed.

After consulting more than 200 victims on the complaints procedure, the Victims' Commissioner found that three-quarters of respondents said they were unhappy with the response received and half said the complaints process was difficult to use. The review also found that there was 'inadequate attention to the personal touch victims needed.'

Victims' Commissioner Baroness Newlove said it was shocking how many victims hold her they were ignored, dismissed and confused when they tried to raise concerns.

"All it takes is basic human decency to explain to a victim, in a sensitive and timely way, why something has gone wrong and what they can do about it," she said.

One victim told Baroness Newlove she feared that the agencies would harass her if she complained about the way they had treated her and her daughter. Another said the process was "almost worse than the actual journey of being a victim".

Baroness Newlove has set out new standards which she expects government and agencies to adopt when responding to concerns from victims. These include information from agencies stating how they will support victims in making a complaint, details on the process and how service providers will keep victims informed of the progress of their complaint, and the victim's option to state their preferred method of communication.

Agencies have been asked to publish information illustrating how complaints from victims have led to improvements in services.

A full copy of the report can be found here.

Laura Clenshaw is managing editor of Solicitors Journal

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Risk & Compliance