Baroness Newlove appointed as new victims' commissioner

Baroness Newlove
Image caption Helen Newlove has championed victims' rights since her husband was killed

The widow of a man murdered by a gang vandalising his car has been appointed the new victims' commissioner.

Baroness Newlove has campaigned against violence since her husband Garry was attacked and killed by youths outside their Warrington home in 2007.

In her three-year post, she will advise ministers on aspects of the criminal justice system in England and Wales affecting victims and witnesses.

She said she understood how it feels to "reach out for support" as a victim.

Baroness Newlove, who has worked as the UK government's champion for active, safer communities, was made a peer by Prime Minister David Cameron in July 2010.

The victims' commissioner job has remained unfilled since Louise Casey, the first person to take on the role, moved to a new post in October 2011 to helping deal with social problems following the riots in England.

'I'm not alone'

Baroness Newlove said: "I know, as a victim of crime, how it feels to be alone, having to reach out for support at the most traumatic of times and facing a criminal justice system both daunting and difficult to understand.

"Sadly, I am not alone in feeling like this, and have been contacted by victims of crime throughout the country who feel the same."

As victims' commissioner she will take on the task of championing victims' views and advising the government on good practice.

She will also contribute to the government's revision of the code of practice for victims of crime. which is followed by the Crown Prosecution Service, police forces and the courts.

Victims' minister Helen Grant said: "I am greatly looking forward to working with Helen to make sure we better support victims traumatised by crime.

"We have already undertaken an ambitious package of reform to the way support services are provided so they will be more responsive to individual communities' needs."

Reforms outlined by the government in July 2012, included making criminals pay more towards victims' services and increasing the the victim surcharge - a levy added on top of fines for criminal offences. But its later decision to reform the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme has been questioned by victims' groups.

Garry Newlove died three days after he was kicked and punched by a group of youths, who he had spent months trying to stop from vandalising his neighbourhood. Three teenagers were jailed for life in January 2008 for his murder.

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