Sir Kier Starmer, former Director of Public Prosecutions, is due to see the second reading of his Victims of Crime Bill on Friday. The Bill recommends a duty to report suspected child abuse by those in regulated professions (such as healthcare and teaching) and a victim’s right to challenge decisions made by the police in criminal investigations.
Starmer noted “Victims’ rights will only be taken seriously when they are enshrined in law. This is a radical, comprehensive bill that would ensure victims are better supported, listened to and treated fairly. Victims should be at the heart of our criminal justice system. At the moment, though, too many victims are afraid to come forward and most victims who do say they wouldn’t come forward again. That has to change, and this bill would make sure it does.”
Following the introduction of mandatory reporting in connection with female genital mutilation, it would be surprising if mandatory reporting for child abuse was not introduced. It already exists in many other countries including Australia, Canada and Saudia Arabia.
Much of the Bill focuses on the rights of victims in criminal cases but the sentiment in the Bill echoes that emerging from the IICSA and that will inevitably be a core consideration in the Accountability and Reparation Investigation.
Written by Paula Jefferson, partner