Victims will be allowed to address the court directly regarding how a crime has affected them, under the government’s Victim’s Code published today.

From December, judges will take into account victims’ personal statements when determining sentences, victims’ minister Damian Green announced.

Green (pictured) said the code will address the issue of victims being treated as an ‘afterthought’ in the criminal justice system. ‘I am absolutely determined that victims are given back their voice and supported every step of the way,’ he said.

Javed Khan, chief executive of charity Victim Support, said: ‘We warmly welcome this decision which gives victims the choice to explain to a court in their own words the personal and emotional impacts a crime has had on them and their families.’

The code will enhance services to support victims of the most serious crimes. 

It will also give businesses the opportunity to explain to the court how a crime has affected them through a written impact statement.

Other measures in the code include:

  • Extra support to victims of stalking, domestic abuse, terrorism and families bereaved by violent crime;
  • Provisions to ensure all victims are automatically referred to victims’ service by the police;
  • A clearer means of redress for victims not given sufficient support;
  • Dedicated advice for young people and their parents or guardians.