HC Deb 22 July 1982 vol 28 cc515-6
1. Mr. Alton

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the current level of grant given by his Department to the national victim support scheme; and how this compares with the assistance available generally to victims of violent crime.

9. Mr. Richard Wainwright

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he takes to monitor the efficiency of the criminal injuries compensation scheme.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. William Whitelaw)

For 1982–83 the amount of Government grant to the national association of victims support schemes is £23,450, two-thirds from the Home Office and one-third from the Department of Health and Social Security. Under the criminal injuries compensation scheme over £22 million a year is now paid from public funds to victims of violent crime.

My Department keeps in close touch with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board to ensure that the scheme is administered as officiently as possible. The board's efficiency is currently the subject of a review under the supervision of Sir Derek Rayner.

Mr. Alton

I welcome that review, but is the Home Secretary aware that the latest figures for Merseyside show that during the past six months 24,000 homes were burgled? That is an average of one every 10 minutes. Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that in areas such as Merseyside, where there has been an 11 per cent. increase in crime during the past month, there is a need to spend more to prevent crime, particularly by providing intruder alarms for elderly people?

Mr. Whitelaw

There is a great deal more to be done in crime prevention, which is important, and the police are giving it specific attention. It would be difficult to achieve that by helping people, but I shall consider that point.

Mr. Wainwright

Will the Home Secretary ensure that the review pays special attention to the delay in making compensation payments? The mothers of two murdered boys have had to wait 18 months for financial compensation.

Mr. Whitelaw

Yes, most certainly. I believe that that is very important.

Mr. Peter Bottomley

Does my right hon. Friend agree that one of the most effective ways of reducing crime, and therefore the compensation paid to victims, is to use the results of some of the studies financed by the Home Office to ensure that parents of young people who are involved in crime recognise the initial signs of misbehaviour and are thus helped to deal with their children more effectively? That is the way to stop crime increasing.

Mr. Whitelaw

That is an important point. It has implications in children's early lives and in our schools. I am discussing those matters with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science.

Mr. Dubs

Is the Home Secretary aware that there are a number of useful local victim support schemes in various parts of the country? Those schemes, which are starved of money, make good use of volunteers. Will he look into the possibility of providing such schemes with money so that they can continue to do useful work?

Mr. Whitelaw

The hon. Gentleman knows that we support only the national victim support scheme. I believe that the local schemes should be carried out on a loca1 basis, while we support the national scheme.

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