Boris Johnson blasts 'outrageous' treatment of crime victims as he unveils domestic abuse crackdown
Boris Johnson has called for a major overhaul of the criminal justice system, as he blasted the "outrageous" mismatch between the support given to victims and perpetrators.
The Prime Minister said victims of crime were too often left to fend for themselves and treated as "passive passengers", while criminals were offered "long-term support" by the state.
Number 10 is promising to bring in a new 'Victims' Law' next year in a bid to boost the help offered to those who have suffered from crime, as well as making clear the obligation on the police and courts service to support them.
The Prime Minister has also appointed charity boss Nicole Jacobs as the UK's first Domestic Abuse Commissioner, tasked with sticking up for victims of abuse.
But Labour accused ministers of "recycling announcements", with Mr Johnson's intervention coming a year after Theresa May first launched her government's victims’ strategy.
Writing in The Sun, Mr Johnson said victims of crime were too often abandoned after court cases, after being told: "Thanks, now you’re on your own."
And he argued: "The criminal justice system is built entirely around dealing with the perpetrator.
"Victims are relegated to the role of passive passengers rather than individuals with a sizeable stake in the process.
"It is frankly outrageous that we are so much better at providing long-term support to criminals than to their victims."
Mr Johnson added: "Rather than extending your ordeal, the state should do everything its power to support you, so that you can begin to overcome the trauma you have experienced."
As well as appointing Ms Jacobs to the domestic abuse role, the Government has announced it will hand out an extra £5m for specialist support services to help those affected by rape and sexual assault.
A fifth of that total will be set aside to recruit more sexual violence advisers to support victims and their families, ministers said.
Justice minister Wendy Morton said: "Rape and sexual assault are horrific crimes, and this cash injection will boost vital services so every victim can access the specialist emotional and practical support they need.
"There is still much more to do, but by bringing forward plans for a victims’ law, this government is sending a clear message that we stand shoulder to shoulder with those who face recovering from such terrible crimes."
But Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon tore into the batch of announcements, as he said: "The appalling reality is that under this Conservative Government, rape conviction rates have fallen to the lowest level since records began.
"Sweeping cuts across the justice system have undermined how victims are treated and their confidence in it."
The Labour frontbencher added: "The Tories need to stop simply recycling announcements about a Victim’s Law, which they first promised more than four years ago, and start delivering on it."