Source: (2010) London: Victim Support.

criminal justice system. Yet they are often marginalised by the process with serious consequences. Without the participation of victims and witnesses the system would be unable to operate effectively. We welcome the renewed focus by ministers on the place of victims at the heart of the justice system. This report shows how victims and witnesses have been historically marginalised when it comes to sentencing, and shows that there is still a long way to go to reverse this trend. New analysis by Victim Support shows that only 16 per cent of victims feel that their views on how a crime affected them were taken into account by the court. There is no obligation to explain sentences to victims in the same detail that courts must use with defendants. Sentences themselves seem to be based on little evidence of effectiveness so victims wonder why billions of pounds are spent on prison and community orders that do not stop reoffending. The rule of law demands that victims do not dictate justice or sentencing. But their experience of the criminal justice system must be better understood and taken into account. We believe that the current political and economic situation provides a chance fundamentally to reform the criminal justice system with the needs and views of victims in mind. We are committed to working with the police, the judiciary and penal reformers to help this happen. (excerpt)

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