Criminal funds to help victims

Thurrock Gazette: Barry and Margaret Mizen have campaigned for victims since the murder of their son, Jimmy. Barry and Margaret Mizen have campaigned for victims since the murder of their son, Jimmy.

Some £14 million of funding taken directly from criminals is set to provide services to help victims recover from the effects of crime, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has announced.

Mr Grayling and policing minister Damian Green are also setting up a Victims' Panel so that those who have been affected by crime can tell ministers directly how the criminal justice system could better serve people in their position.

TV presenter Charlie Webster, who has recently spoken out about the sexual abuse she suffered as a teenager, and Barry Mizen, whose son Jimmy was brutally murdered in 2008, will be part of that panel.

Mr Grayling said: "We've got to make sure we give victims the best support possible. This Government is doing more than ever to make offenders pay for their crimes and fund the services victims need to recover. But that doesn't mean we can't do more.

"We receive invaluable help and advice from people who work with victims every day, including the Victims' Commissioner.

"But I want to hear first-hand from those who have suffered personally about what we can do better to help them come to terms with and recover from the traumatic effects of crime."

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said an increase in the penalties judges can impose on criminals from 2012 is ensuring criminals are forced to pay the price for their wrongdoing.

They say this will contribute to the department's aim to double the funding available to help victims' services, which currently stands at £50 million from the MoJ.

They are also piloting pre-trial cross-examination to help young and vulnerable witnesses. This is being tested in three Crown Courts and will be rolled out more widely if successful.

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