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Victims and Prisoners Bill

Victims and Prisoners Bill


Perspectives from Justice Minister Lord Bellamy, Amy Rowe, Partner at Dawson Cornwell and the Victims’ Commissioner, Baroness Newlove

In a significant development concerning Family Court proceedings, Justice Minister Lord Bellamy emphasises the necessity of proper regulation for experts providing evidence. His remarks come following an amendment to the Victims and Prisoners Bill, reflecting concerns about the reliability of experts in Family Court cases.

Amy Rowe, a partner at Dawson Cornwell, highlights the risks associated with unregulated psychologists conducting assessments in Family Court proceedings. She highlights potential shortcomings in qualifications and training, particularly in cases involving sensitive family dynamics.

Further, the Victims’ Commissioner, Baroness Newlove (pictured), welcomes recent revisions to the Bill but emphasises the need for additional progress. She applauds measures promoting better compliance with the Victims’ Code, stressing the importance of consequences for persistent non-compliance by criminal justice bodies.

The Commissioner also acknowledges positive steps towards allowing victims to share the impact of crimes during Mental Health Tribunal hearings. This change addresses a disparity in the justice system and ensures victims have a voice in decisions affecting them.

Moreover, the government's move to clarify the legal status of confidentiality clauses is welcomed by the Victims’ Commissioner. She highlights the importance of empowering victims to speak out and access justice without fear of reprisal.

However, despite these strides, key victim groups remain unsupported. The Victims’ Commissioner advocates for amendments to address issues such as the denial of support for victims of persistent anti-social behaviour and the lack of safeguards for victims of sexual violence.

As dialogue continues, stakeholders strive to ensure comprehensive legislation that protects the rights and well-being of all victims. Their collective efforts aim to uphold fairness, transparency, and accountability within the legal system.