Source: (2011) Criminology & Criminal Justice 12(2) 149-173

The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime, introduced by the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004, is portrayed as an important advance on the previous two Charters, particularly with regards to the complaints process available in cases where service providers breach these obligations. This article provides a detailed description of the Code’s complaints process as well as its functioning in order to evaluate its efficacy. The methodology behind this evaluation comprises several interviews with members of the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s office and analysis of legal documents such as statutes, case law, reports and the relevant academic literature on victims. The article argues that the Code’s complaints process is not an effective and adequate mechanism for victims of crime, since contrary to its aims, it is largely inaccessible, long, overly complex and does not provide sufficient guarantees of privacy and objectivity as well as adequate redress and remedies for victims when service providers breach their duties. Instead, victims of crime would benefit from the development of a new mechanism that is sensitive to their needs, values accessibility and objectivity and provides effective remedies to ensure redress and accountability.