The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is set to appoint the first independent Victims’ Commissioner for London in a step-change in improving the experience of victims and survivors of crime in the UK capital.
An advertisement for the new role has been published on 30th January 2017, seeking a candidate who can ensure the voices of victims are heard and can influence the development of victims’ services across policing, crime and the criminal justice system.
This new role was a key manifesto pledge, and is part of the Mayor’s new draft Police and Crime Plan – currently under public consultation – which puts victims at the heart of his policing strategy.
Sadiq Khan said that the role would ‘stand up for survivors of crime throughout the capital’.
The new Victims’ Commissioner will work with central government and stakeholders including the Met Police, Crown Prosecution Service, Ministry of Justice and victims themselves, reporting directly into the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Sophie Linden.
They will support her and the Mayor of London in overseeing the Met’s work to protect victims and in challenging the capital’s criminal justice agencies to improve services for victims, witnesses and their families.
Sadiq Khan’s work for victims has already led to an additional £4million to improve services for those who have suffered domestic and sexual abuse, and the UK’s first online ‘live chat’ service for victims in the capital who may find it difficult to access support over the phone or in person. Last year, he also launched the first ever London-wide restorative justice programme. Led by those who have experienced crime, it aims to cut reoffending rates and help victims recover and move on with their lives.
This will be the first time a Victims’ Commissioner has been appointed specifically for the capital, and will complement the national role which was created in 2010 to cover England and Wales.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “Crime can have a devastating and lasting impact on people’s lives, which is why I am putting the needs of victims at the heart of policing in London. The right support can make a huge difference in helping people navigate the criminal justice system and recover from painful experiences, as well as driving down reoffending.
“The new Victims’ Commissioner will stand up for survivors of crime across the capital, making sure their voice is heard and that their needs are at the heart of our policing and criminal services. By understanding the experiences of victims and championing improvements, we can help ensure they get the support they need to move on.”
The Deputy Mayor for Policing And Crime, Sophie Linden, will appoint the new Victims Commissioner to their new post within the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC).
She said: “Too often, Londoners are not receiving the support they need after experiencing crime, and are struggling to navigate the criminal justice system. The new Victims Commissioner will bridge this gap, speaking up on behalf of victims and holding the Met and other agencies to account. With the needs of victims placed firmly at the heart of our work, we can work to improve services and make sure they are not left to make this journey alone.”
The Mayor is also bringing together housing providers, charities and health practitioners at City Hall today to launch a new housing agreement for Londoners at risk from domestic and sexual violence. The new Pan-London Housing Reciprocal allows social housing tenants to move to another area within the capital in a collaborative approach to help keep Londoners safe.
Mark Castle, Chief Executive of the independent charity Victim Support, said: “The impact of crime can be devastating, with far reaching consequences for victims whose needs often go beyond the criminal justice system. We wholeheartedly support the Mayor’s initiative to appoint a Victims’ Commissioner who can ensure that agencies across London, with a role in helping victims, work together to deliver an integrated pathway of quality services.
“We look forward to working closely with the new Commissioner to improve the experience of victims of crime in London.”
The Victims Commissioner will be appointed for a term of three years.
Fay Maxted OBE, CEO of The Survivors Trust, said: “It is wonderful news that the Mayor has announced the appointment of a Victims’ Commissioner for London. According to the British Crime Survey for England and Wales, there are an estimated one and a half million people in London who experienced sexual abuse as a child and each year 24,000 adults in London experience rape or sexual assault. Many victims never report what has happened to them and many struggle to find appropriate support and help. An independent Victims’ Commissioner for London will be able to ensure that their needs and interests are taken into consideration at all levels of policy development and service delivery, and we look forward to working with them to reach out to all survivors across London.”
The job advert and specification can be found here