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30th Sep 2022

Justice Lab welcomes committee's focus on victims data

Justice Lab has welcomed the Justice Select Committee’s report on the draft Victims Bill and its recommendation that the Government do more to support effective collection and publication of data to enhance the voice of victims.

The report, published on 30 September 2022, concludes the draft bill “will have limited effect on police and other agencies’ delivery of victims’ rights” and points to the need for additional resources for many of the Bill’s proposals to work.

It says: “A lack of data has been a key barrier to the effective monitoring of the implementation of the [Victims’] Code, particularly with respect to minority groups. Meaningful data collected and published regularly can help amplify victims voices and hold underperforming agencies to account.” [paragraph 90]

The report backs Justice Lab’s recommendations for clause 5 of the bill to be improved to ensure there is a duty for the Victims’ Commissioner and local victims’ groups to be consulted on the data required and that data should be standardised to allow comparison across police areas.

It also says that data should be published in a form that can be disaggregated by crime type and protected characteristic, and – with effective safeguards to protect confidentiality –shared with appropriate bodies. 

Justice Lab submitted written evidence to the Committee in July setting out the need for more effective arrangements to collect, manage and publish victim-related data as part of a wider data strategy, as recommended in the Digital Justice report for HM Courts & Tribunals Service in 2019.

Commenting on the report, Dr Natalie Byrom said

This is an important and thorough report that sets out how the draft bill needs to be improved if it is to achieve its goal to put victims at the heart of the justice system.

We particularly welcome the Committee’s emphasis on improving the collection, management and publication of data to enable the voices of victims to be heard and to ensure justice agencies are being held properly to account.

Justice Lab is undertaking further work to identify the data gaps that exist in the justice system and to make further recommendations to ensure victims’ interests and needs are prioritised effectively.