Baroness Newlove: Crime victims shouldn't be traumatised

Baroness Newlove
Baroness Newlove was appointed victims' commissioner in 2012

"I don't want to do the talking. I want to do the talking and the walking and the time has come now to delve into these criminal justice agencies to see what they're doing for victims."

That's from the woman behind an investigation looking at how victims of crime are treated in England and Wales.

Victims' Commissioner Baroness Newlove is a victim herself.

Her husband was murdered in front of her three young daughters in Warrington seven years ago.

We asked her who was letting victims down.

"From the police to the CPS to actually the support in the court room, it's all the players in the criminal justice agency," she said.

Listeners' questions

Newsbeat listeners have been contacting us about this.

Marco says his brother was shot in 1995.

He says that there is no support for the victims and there seems to be a lot geared up towards the criminals.

"I have to agree," Baroness Newlove said.

"I agree that there has to be rehabilitation of offenders so that when they come out into communities there are no more victims and society feels safer. However, there should be rehabilitation for victims."

Police at the scene of a crime

Ros says she was mugged in east London and had her phone snatched.

She called the police and they picked her up, but a few weeks later they wrote a letter saying they weren't going to pursue the case any further.

How are you going to improve your communication between the victims and police?

"Very important again," she said.

"Communication is what really irritates victims and I think working with the police and all the other agencies to make sure that if they're not going to proceed give them an explanation, actually visit them and explain to them.

"Don't let them receive a letter in the post."

Newsbeat presenter Chris Smith asked her: "There are probably police officers listening to this thinking, 'We're too busy, we're stretched too thinly to be trying to recover every stolen mobile phone and look after victims'."

Baroness Newlove replied: "I appreciate that the economic climate, everyone's having their departments cut but there are still victims out there that need a service."

The previous victims' commissioner made similar comments in 2010 but things don't seem to have improved. How will it be different under you?

"I'm confident and I'm a person who rolls my sleeves up," she said.

"I have two hats. I'm a victims' commissioner, but I'm also a victim of crime and I've got three young daughters.

"It's talking to victims, say from the CPS, instead of a cold clinical letter saying they're not going to go ahead with the case.

"Sit down with them, build a relationship with them and make sure they understand.

"I want to make sure after the court cases have ended that there's better support for them.

"They are people who have been traumatised, whose lives have been ripped apart. I will personally keep on making sure that we get quality service for victims.

"They shouldn't be traumatised by the very system that's in place to protect them."

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