HC Deb 21 July 1960 vol 627 cc719-21
37. Mr. Prentice

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has now received the report of the Working Party which has been studying the problems of compensating the victims of crimes of personal violence; and whether he will make a statement on the nature of the report and the Government's conclusions arising from it.

53. Mrs. Castle

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to receive the report of the Working Party on compensation for victims of violent crimes.

Mr. R. A. Butler

The Working Party's report is in an advanced stage of preparation, but it will not be possible for me to make any statement before the Recess.

Mr. Prentice

While appreciating that the Report has not yet been finalised, does the right hon. Gentleman agree that a workable scheme of State insurance for the victims of criminal assaults could be introduced at a cost of about £200,000 per year, which is less than I d. per year per head of the whole of the population? Does he think it likely that the Government will have positive proposals to bring before the House early in the new Session?

Mr. Butler

I am not sure about the timing, but I hope to receive the report during the Recess. Meanwhile, I would rather not go into details, because there are considerable complications in the scheme, but I should not have set up the Working Party if I had not been keen to get a report.

Mrs. Castle

Will the Home Secretary give the House an assurance that, if the Working Party produces a practicable scheme, the Government will implement it? Is he not aware that I have recently sent him details of the very tragic case of Mrs. Gallacher, of Blackburn, whose husband was the victim of the pawnshop murder recently, and who has made a desperate appeal to me for help? I referred her to the Home Secretary, and all he could give her was sympathy. Is it not time that something practical was done to help the victims of these crimes?

Mr. Butler

That is precisely why, when I first came to the Home Office, I took an interest in this subject, following upon Miss Margery Fry's ideas. I cannot at the moment go further until I receive this report.