30th September 2022

The Children’s Commissioner responds to the Justice Committee’s pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Victims Bill

Today the Justice Select Committee published its pre-legislative scrutiny report on the draft Victims Bill.

I was glad to give evidence to the Committee alongside the then Victims’ Commissioner, the London Victims’ Commissioner, and the Domestic Abuse Commissioner.

It is heartening to see the Committee’s support for many of the recommendations I made at the session. These include:

Child victims of domestic abuse:

The Bill must be amended to incorporate reference to Clause 8 of the Domestic Abuse Act to ensure that children are recognised as victims of domestic abuse in their own right.

CHIDVAs and CHISVAs:

The Bill should define the specific role of Child Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (CHISVAs) and Child Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (CHIDVAs).

Children born through rape:

The Bill should recognise children who are born through rape as victims and these individuals should be entitled to the rights under the Victims Code. I have before drawn attention to the importance this issue, following campaigns by Daisy and the Centre for Women’s Justice.

I would also like to pay testament to the brave campaigns of other adult survivors of child sexual abuse, including Sammy Woodhouse. My conversations with survivors have greatly informed my understanding of the challenges facing child victims.

I will continue to campaign for the rights of child victims and ensure that their views are represented in the legislative process. Above all, it is vital that the new Government prioritise the passage of the Victims Bill to ensure that victims’ entitlements are placed on a statutory footing as soon as possible, this Parliamentary session.