Today, I gave evidence to the Justice Select Committee on the draft Victims’ Bill.
I highlighted areas in which the draft Bill should be strengthened for children. Last week, I set out my thoughts on the Bill in more detail from the perspective of children. Overall, the Bill needs to fully reflect child victims’ voices and recognise that children’s needs are distinct from adults.
These are some of the points I made in front of the Committee today. I was joined by the Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales, the Domestic Abuse Commissioner and the London Victims’ Commissioner at this important session.
The draft Bill holds promise, but I am determined to ensure that the eventual Act fully reflects children’s needs, which are distinct from adults. Children need to be referred to consistently throughout the Bill. And it is so important to sure that child-victims’ entitlements to specialist, child-centred services are explicitly drawn out throughout the Bill.
I would like local services to be required under the Victims Bill to consider children’s specific needs separately from adults, and ensure that every child receives brilliant, child-centred victim support if they need it.
Over the summer, I will use my unique statutory powers to speak to survivors of child sexual abuse, ensuring that their voices are amplified and placed at the heart of the Victims Bill.