This website uses cookies

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience. By using our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy

Lexis+ AI

Crackdown on ‘Gagging Orders’ to protect victims’ access to support and justice

Crackdown on ‘Gagging Orders’ to protect victims’ access to support and justice


New legislation ensures victims can access support without fear, ending misuse of NDAs to silence them

In a significant move to uphold the rights of victims, the Ministry of Justice, along with Members of Parliament Laura Farris and Alex Chalk, announced plans to curb the misuse of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) or 'gagging orders'. Published on March 28, 2024, these plans aim to ensure that victims are never again prevented from accessing crucial support or legal guidance.

Under the current legal landscape, confidentiality clauses, often embedded in NDAs, ostensibly serve to safeguard sensitive employment information. However, they have been increasingly exploited to silence victims, effectively denying them avenues to seek justice or crucial support services needed for their recovery.

The proposed changes to the law are aimed at rectifying this imbalance. The announcement clarifies that NDAs cannot legally prevent victims from reporting crimes. Furthermore, individuals will be free to discuss information related to criminal conduct with pertinent groups such as law enforcement bodies, regulated lawyers, and other support services operating under confidentiality principles.

Speaking on the matter, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Alex Chalk, expressed the government's determination to bring an end to the misuse of NDAs. He highlighted the importance of ensuring that victims are not denied justice or the support they deserve due to legal constraints.

Victims and Safeguarding Minister, Laura Farris MP, underscored the unlawfulness of sexual harassment in the workplace and condemned the use of confidentiality clauses to deter victims from seeking justice. Farris praised the collaborative effort that led to these legislative changes, acknowledging the contributions of campaigners like Dame Maria Miller.

Legislation to enact these changes will be introduced as soon as parliamentary time permits. This announcement follows the recent launch of a campaign aimed at raising awareness of the Victims’ Code, which seeks to establish the rights of victims in statutory law. Through the proposed Victims and Prisoners Bill, the principles outlined in the Code will be enshrined in law, ensuring that victims are informed of their entitlements to support services and updates on their cases.

Moreover, the government remains committed to bolstering support services for victims. Initiatives such as the 24/7 Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Line and increased funding for victim support demonstrate a concerted effort to provide comprehensive assistance to those in need.

In essence, the crackdown on 'gagging orders' marks a significant step towards ensuring that victims have unimpeded access to support and justice, reaffirming the government's commitment to upholding the rights of all individuals affected by crime.

Lexis+ AI