Baroness Newlove visits Victim Liaison Unit for Mersey Cheshire

24/09/2014

The Victims’ Commissioner has praised the dedication of staff working at the Crown Prosecution Service’s Victim Liaison Unit in Liverpool.

Baroness Newlove, on a visit to the unit, said that they were helping victims through the "maze of the criminal justice system".

She said that keeping victims of crime informed about what is happening in their case is absolutely vital.

The Crown Prosecution Service in Mersey-Cheshire set up the unit in April. It handles all communications with victims.

This includes letting the victim know if the prosecution decides to discontinue a case or alter a charge.  It also handles complaints and the Victims' Right to Review scheme.

Baroness Newlove said: "Victims and their families need to be listened to and have open and honest conversations about what is happening to them.

"It will only cause a victim more pain if they are not properly informed about developments in their case.

"I can see that staff at this unit work hard to make sure victims can understand why decisions are made in a compassionate, clear and timely way.

"It was also useful to see how the right to review is handled in person as it's an important tool for those who want to challenge a court decision and hold the CPS to account.

"Over the next few months, I look forward to working closely with the CPS to see how these new units are working and how we can continue to make positive improvements for victims."

Claire Lindley, Chief Crown Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service, Mersey-Cheshire, said:  "Victims of crime are at the heart of what we do, and good communication with them can make all the difference.

"The Director of Public Prosecutions has made this one of her key priorities.

"Our new Victim Liaison Unit is the main link between victims and the organisation. The staff in the unit help victims understand what has happened to their case and why.

"In some cases, we will offer to meet the victim or their family to explain our decision.

"We hope that the unit will provide an effective and empathetic service to members of the public who have been affected by crime."