§ Baroness Pitkeathley
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they will publish their plans to improve services for victims of crime and for witnesses. [HL1226]
§ The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn)
The Government are committed to improving the position of victims and witnesses within the criminal justice system. We are increasing very substantially our annual grant to Victim Support to enable them to establish in magistrates' courts a support service for victims, witnesses and other court users to complement the highly successful service they have already established at all Crown Court centres. Up to an additional £2.8 million a year will be provided for this purpose in 1999–2000, rising to up to £4.5 million in 2001–02.
We shall also be providing an additional £1.8 million a year from 1999–2000 onwards to enable Victim Support further to develop their community based schemes and the support services provided at the Crown Court.
By 2001–02, therefore, our grant to Victim Support will have risen to some £19 million a year, an increase of 50 per cent. over the current figure of £12.7 million. This substantial injection of new money will enable Victim Support to provide a more complete and seamless service for victims and witnesses, from the reporting of the offence through to the conclusion of the case in the courts and, as appropriate, beyond.